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Oakwood in no hurry to fill assistant city manager post
2011 property tax revenues may fall, leaving a smaller budget
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Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown plans to take the same approach with filling the assistant city manager post that he has in plugging another key vacancy — city planner.

He's not rushing to find a replacement.

"There's a potential we may do a little restructuring since we have these vacancies," Brown said. "At this point, I'm still kind of working through that to determine exactly what we're going to recruit for.

"We may end up with an assistant city manager position, but then again, it may turn into a different position."

Patti Doss-Luna is retiring effective June 30.

Initially hired as the city clerk, she has served the city for 25 years. She has worked as assistant city manager since 1993, serving through two city managers, including Brown.

Larry Sparks retired May 27 as city planner, a title he held for six years. He previously served 32 years with the Gainesville-based Georgia Mountains Regional Development Commission — now known as the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission.

Brown said he expects to discuss the situation more in-depth with the City Council at its
July meeting.

"It's not often that you have two of your key positions come open (at the same time)," he said.

"If there's a positive side to all of this, it's that we have an opportunity to regroup here."

In the meantime, "I'm trying to get up to speed on some of the things Patti handles," Brown said.

Her duties will be spread among city employees. She handles finance matters and human resources, among other tasks.

"Patti brings so much to the table, with all of her history, knowledge and expertise," Brown said.

"She's going to be impossible to replace, so I can't find another Patti.

"... I'm sure there'll be a lot of things we won't realize we'll be lacking in until she's gone."

Also, there are financial considerations in waiting to hire new people.

"We need to see what do we really need in this budget environment," Brown said. "Do I need two department heads or a department head and someone less than a department head?"

The city's property tax revenues for fiscal 2011, which began Jan. 1 and ends Dec. 31, could be affected by lower values in the county's tax digest, or list of taxable properties.

Area governments, including South Hall neighbor Flowery Branch, are taking a property tax revenue hit as they prepare for fiscal 2012, which starts July 1.

"Until we see what happens with all the appeals and everything, it's kind of hard to know where we're going to end up," Brown said. "If we're down 10 percent (in tax revenues), that'll be $60,000. That money has to come from somewhere."