“I want this done,” Hereford said at a work session Thursday.
He said he had faced some criticism from the council for “dragging” his feet but said he is ready to move forward with a recommendation for both positions.
Hereford said he will recommend that the council hire Pell City Fire Chief Patrick Draper as city manager.
“I have come to respect this young man,” he said.
He said Draper is qualified for the position, and if appointed by the council will serve the remainder of their term as city manager. The mayor and council terms expire in November.
Officials say a new mayor and council will take office and are expected to appoint department heads the first Monday in November. The new mayor and council have the option of keeping or hiring new department heads to run city departments.
“We need to do this,” Hereford told the council Thursday. “We need to fill this position.”
He said if the council appoints Draper as city manager, he will immediately reduce his mayor’s salary to $15,000.
“It would cost us zero dollars (for the manager),” he said.
Hereford said he also wants to fill the city clerk’s position before he leaves office, a position that has remained open since November 2011.
He said he will recommend that the council hire Penny Isbell, who is currently acting city clerk, as permanent city clerk.
“It’s about time for you to come along on our thinking about Penny,” Councilwoman Dot Wood told Hereford at Thursday’s work session.
Hereford said Isbell is an asset to the city.
“She has the heart and commitment,” he said.
Hereford said he will also ask the council to establish a new chief financial officer position.
“I think it’s about time to get this thing running like a business,” Councilman Donnie Guinn said. “We’ve got to get it right.”
Guinn said one of his concerns is the Fire Department, once the council appoints Draper as city manager.
“I don’t want to see that unwind,” he said.
Hereford said the Fire Department is in good hands with Assistant Fire Chief Mike Burdett at the helm.
“This is about two words — professional manager,” Hereford said, adding that both Draper and Isbell want the jobs that are currently open.
He said he will not refill the assistant city clerk’s position. The new chief financial officer is expected to be a certified public accountant.
“I’m going to ask you to do those three things Monday night,” Hereford told the council Thursday.
He said the city received 50-51 applications for the city manager’s job.
The mayor and council only publicly interviewed or screened about five possible candidates.
Contact David Atchison at email@example.com.