COVINGTON, Ga. — On Wednesday night, Nov. 20, the Covington City Council voted unanimously to name Scott Andrews as the new city manager.
He will succeed departing City Manager Leigh Anne Knight and is slated to start in that position no later than Dec. 18.
It was evident that each member of the council had put ample thought into this decision. Many members voiced their support for the incoming city manager and believed the amount of thought that they have put into this decision should allow people to trust in Andrews.
"We would like to think that everyone would support our decision," Councilman Kenneth Morgan said. "I never take anything lightly. I don't do anything on personal feelings or how I feel about one person over the other; I do things based on the fact of what I feel is right for the employees of the city and the constituents of the city."
Morgan's comments on the city manager were followed up with similar remarks by Councilwoman Susie Keck, but she made her final words on the matter short and sweet.
"We made a very important decision, and I know it is the right decision," Keck said.
Andrews was chosen from about 70 applicants. A search firm helped narrow the field to six semifinalists, which the mayor and City Council interviewed last month in closed sessions at the airport. From there, city leaders narrowed it to Andrews, the assistant city administrator in Smyrna, and Covington Electric Department Director Freddy L. Morgan.
Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams asked for the people of Covington to trust that they made the best decision for the future of the city.
"No matter when you make a decision, There is always going to be yays and nays and those who are indifferent about it, whose who are anti and those who are for it, but trust us," Williams said. "We do feel that what we are moving toward is a perfect city looking after our employees and our citizens."
Councilman Josh McKelvey followed up her final comments and thanked the council for the "months of effort" that was put into the search for the next city manager.
"There was an intention here to cast a far and wide net, and the staff was helpful in that situation. We spent a lot of time debating back and forth," McKelvey said. "I think the answer tonight was the best option as far as a unified council and a unified city moving forward, so I thought it was a good decision.
Councilman Anthony Henderson simply congratulated the new city manager and said that he "looked forward to working with him" and "seeing what he has to bring to Covington."
The council meeting ended shortly after that, and Mayor Ronnie Johnston made it known why he was excited about the hire of Andrews and why he believed it was the right hire for Covington.
"I think it's great, and I'm very impressed with him. He's relatively young, and I like the youth coming into our town," Johnston said. "I think his energy, his leadership ability and to be honest with you, his youth. I think sometimes we need innovation, new ideas, new thinking, how can we do this differently? So that's why I was excited about him, and he stood out big time to me."
Since Johnston will not be returning in his mayoral position next year, and there will be a new council group coming in, the city manager's position can only be filled until the end of the year. This means if Andrews is not renewed as city manager in 2020, then he could potentially only hold the position for 13 days.
Incoming Mayor Steve Horton was in attendance for this City Council session, and he seemed to support the council's decision and looks forward to seeing what Andrews can do for the city.
"I trust they made a good decision and will just move forward from there," Horton said. "I think everybody deserves a chance, and certainly, if the shoe was on the other foot and it was me in that position, I would like somebody to give me a chance."