Council pares list to four

Friday, January 21, 2011

The list of applicants for the Lewisburg city manager job was shortened to four and arranged in order of preference at a short council meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Councilmen had no trouble putting Alan Grindstaff at the top of their list, with James Pennington a close second.

At the start of the meeting, three men were tied for third place, so mayor Barbara Woods suggested a voice vote to select one. After four councilmen had responded, David Orr had two votes and Alton Brown had two. Odie Whitehead Jr. was the last one called on, and, after a moment's hesitation, cast his vote for Orr.

Thus Orr moves into third place, and Brown into fourth. Now all four will be subject to background checks by Police Chief Chuck Forbis.

"Let's see what the background says before we choose," Councilman Quinn Brandon Stewart said.

"I should be able to get right on it," Forbis said. "With the travel (Grindstaff is in Texas and Pennington in South Carolina), it could take two weeks."

"We want it done right," exclaimed Councilman Robin Minor, reminding fellow councilmen that Lewisburg didn't want to end up like Cornersville, whose former city manager is in the penitentiary.

Once Forbis has the background checks completed, he will hand the paperwork over to Woods and she will distribute copies to the councilmen to study and then call a meeting for the final decision.

The top four candidates have been notified by phone that they are definitely in the running, but councilmen agreed not to tell the other candidates that they had been rejected just yet.

"We may have to drop back and punt," Minor said, referring to the fact that the top contenders may not have satisfactory background checks.

When Forbis does the background checks, he says he plans to talk to the people used as references, plus co-workers -- both subordinates and bosses -- and neighbors.