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Hall County chooses new finance director
Neikirk worked in Hall 2001 to 2004, most recently in Toccoa
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Hall County will soon have a new finance director, Administrator Randy Knighton announced Tuesday.

Toccoa Finance Director Vickie Neikirk will join the county in mid-November as the first director of financial services Hall County has had since January.

Besides Neikirk's previous experience as the finance director in Toccoa, she has served as the chief financial officer for White County.

Between 2001 and 2004, she worked in Hall County's finance department.

Knighton said Neikirk's familiarity with Hall County's operations and her experience as a finance director were key factors in his decision to hire her.

"Vickie's experience and guidance will enhance the capabilities of the strong finance team currently in place, and she will be a tremendous asset to the entire organization," Knighton said in a statement released Tuesday morning.

"Creating a secure budget and sound financial future is a primary concern for the county, and we are in a better position to do that with Vickie on board."

In January, the Hall County Board of Commissioners fired the county's top three administrators.

For six months, the county had an interim finance director in Gwinnett County's retired Chief Financial Officer Lisa Johnsa.

Johnsa guided commissioners through a tough budget process in June, as commissioners were faced with an $11.5 million revenue shortfall when formulating a spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1.

Johnsa left in early July, leaving county purchasing director Tim Sims and budget officer Jeremy Perry to lead the county's finance department after the commission approved this fiscal year's budget.

Commissioners said in July they did not plan to hire a permanent financial director until they first installed a permanent county administrator.

They appointed Knighton in mid-July and later Marty Nix was named assistant county administrator.

Knighton was the first permanent employee to replace former administrator Charley Nix, who was forced to resign as part of a shakeup that also included Assistant Administrator Phil Sutton, Attorney Bill Blalock and Finance Director Michaela Thompson.

Commissioners since have rehired Blalock's firm, Stewart, Melvin & Frost of Gainesville. Until Knighton's appointment, an interim administrator, Jock Connell, led the county's day-to-day operations.

On Tuesday, Knighton said the search for a new finance director had taken the last two and a half months.

Of approximately 30 applicants, Neikirk was the only finalist, county officials said. She has been hired at a salary of $102,500, Knighton said.

In her first days on the job, Knighton said Neikirk will meet with administrative staff on a regular basis as county officials begin "to develop strategies for moving into the next year's budget."

"We've got a great staff in place," Knighton said. "(Neikirk's) addition will allow us to better meet our future goals for the county."


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