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Commission OKs contracts for county administrators

Posted: January 10, 2018 - 1:49am
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Scott Johnson
Scott Johnson

Columbia County commissioners OK'd new contracts for department heads and top administrators before heading into an election year that has the potential to bring in three new commissioners.

Current chairman Ron Cross explained it was standard procedure to approve contracts for its employees each year, but commissioners last month approved four-year contracts for county administrator Scott Johnson along with deputy administrators Matt Schlachter and Glenn Kennedy.

"We didn't want a situation at the end of 2018, their contracts had expired and there was no contract in place," Cross said of all employees. "That makes people uneasy, they don't feel like their employer's got any confidence in them."
Cross said the county typically approves 2-year contracts for its leaders and stated any commission can void any actions of a previous commission.

"The main reason we really wanted the people put in place to feel comfortable and stay and not be looking otherwise," Cross said.

The 4-year contracts came with a yearly increase of $4,800 for Johnson for a total salary of $164,800. And Schlachter and Kennedy both received increases of more than $3,700 each, for yearly salaries of $127,850.14.

Commissioners unanimously approved the contracts for the leaders. Cross called Schlachter and Kennedy "both ideally suited for what they do."

Cross spoke to the leadership and management of Johnson, who has served as the county administrator for more than seven years.

"Scott's probably the best administrator in Georgia. I've got a lot of respect for the one out of Cobb County that is now working for ACCG, but I'd put Scott up there with anybody and the variation of knowledge he has," Cross said. "He's got good overall management skills. He teaches management classes at other locations, but his finance ability, his problem solving, his practical sense, he's just one of a kind and probably underpaid."

Schlachter, a former county engineer, and Clemson graduate, who worked for the Department of Transportation before getting on with the county.

"(Schlachter) worked under Ronnie Hutto for a good many years and we put him in a position, when Ronnie retired, on an interim basis and he became basically a county engineer and then he moved up to a deputy administrator," Cross said. "Matt's background and education just made him the ideal candidate particularly for public works projects, roads, water and sewer and all that as being the top man in that area."

Kennedy served as the communications director in the White House under the Bush administration before serving as Garrison Commander of Fort Gordon, Cross said. "So he's got a lot of experience in the logistical side of government."

Cross praised the work of all department heads including traffic and engineering and planning and zoning.

"We just have an awful lot of young, aggressive brain power and I would hate to see it change," Cross said. "It's really been good to see the young staff mature as we go along and buy more into the vision the commission has had and the administration has had."

 

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