‘Extremely disappointed’: Savannah mayor discovers city manager candidate also under consideration for Augusta position

‘Extremely disappointed’: Savannah mayor discovers city manager candidate also under consideration

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah Mayor Van Johnson says he found out from a newspaper article that one of the three finalists for the city manager position in Savannah, is also a finalist for a city administrator position in Augusta.

Months of searching and poring over hundreds of applications from all over the country have yielded three finalists for one of Savannah’s most important roles. Caluha Barnes, John Pombier, and Odie Donald II will all be in town this week to meet with city council members face-to-face, as well as other community stakeholders. But it’s Odie Donald II who’s also up for a top spot in Augusta.

“I was extremely disappointed," said Mayor Johnson. "The goal of this is as you move forward is not to have surprises.”

WTOC asked Mayor Johnson if he believes Donald should still be in the running for the position. He pointed out it’s not solely up to him, but a council decision. He hasn’t spoken to members of the council about Donald being simultaneously considered for another position.

“Each council member has to decide how that weighs in. As someone who is a human resources professional, that’s just not cool, not to me.”

WTOC reached out to Donald, who said both searches are conducted by search firms, adding he’s been in constant and transparent communication with both throughout the process.

Donald went on to say, “In the interest of respect for the selection process, I have provided a response below:

I’m flattered, honored, and humbled that my work in support of South Fulton’s elected officials and 100,000 trailblazing residents is valuable enough to be recognized by Georgia’s most important cities. While I look forward to the next steps in the process, my laser focus remains on ensuring that the City of South Fulton continues on the path towards world class service delivery.”

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