Jackson County has narrowed its search for a new county manager to three.
Interviews were conducted earlier this week with three candidates while a fourth withdrew from consideration.
The three remaining candidates are Kevin Christopher Poe of Rome, county manager of Floyd County for the past 16 years; Bob Thomas of Elberton, county administrator for Elbert County; and Roy A. "Rick" Eckert of Powder Springs, city manager of Powder Springs.
Jackson County Commission Chairman Hunter Bicknell said there were other good candidates identified during the process but said he feels good about the finalists, who were announced Wednesday.
A two-week waiting period will now begin before any decision is forthcoming from the commission.
According to Bicknell, a meeting of the board will then be called and Interim County Manager Leonard Myers will be directed to make an offer to the commission's choice.
After the offer is extended, the negotiation process related to salary, benefits and travel can begin.
"We would know then how quickly (the new manager) can come," Bicknell said.
The search for the new county manager has been a deliberate one, involving The Chason Group, an executive search firm that had worked previously with the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce.
Assisting with the process has been Myers, who has been called on by Jackson County to serve in an interim capacity on two previous occasions.
Stability is what Jackson County needs, notes Jim Dove, executive director of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, who was among those serving on the search committee. Dove, a Jackson County resident, said the need for stability has been stressed to the three candidates.
"Also a fact that has not been lost on any of these three candidates is that Jackson County has some fine employees. The staff is at a very high level."
Shane Short, president/CEO of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce, who also served on the search committee, said he was impressed with the finalists.
"I was very pleased with the quality of candidates who expressed an interest in the county manager's position," Short said. "There were many who were capable of doing the job, but some who, in my opinion, were exceptional. The three final candidates are all very qualified and I feel could do the citizens of Jackson County a good job.
"I feel that any one of the three gentlemen would serve our community well."
The new manager would become Jackson County's sixth in a dozen years.
Jackson County's most recent county manager, Darrell Hampton, resigned March 15 as commissioners were questioning him about expenditures for equipment and on projects that had not come before the board for specific approval.