COVINGTON, Ga. — Two men are finalists for the position of city manager of Covington.
The City Council will have a special meeting at 5:30 pm. Nov. 20 to discuss the search and is expected to hire C. Scott Andrews, the assistant city administrator for Smyrna, or promote Freddy L. Morgan, the city’s electric director.
The two men were chosen from a field of six semifinalists, which was whittled down from the nearly 70 applicants to succeed Leigh Anne Knight.
Knight is retiring Dec. 13.
Council members spoke informally by telephone Wednesday and decided to proceed to the final meeting before making their choice. Knight said a review of state law revealed the city only had to give 14 days’ notice before the meeting.
Mayor Ronnie Johnston — who lost his reelection bid Tuesday — and council members met last week to interview the six semifinalists. Although those candidates have not been identified, Johnston said three were internal candidates.
Andrews has been in Smyrna since 2017. In his role there, he advises the mayor and City Council in setting policies, has worked with staff in planning the projects in the upcoming Cobb County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and other major city projects.
Previously he served as the economic development director in Sugar Hill from 2014-17, and was with the city of Temple Terrace, Florida, from 2003-14. In that position, he ascended to the position of recreation supervisor.
He has a doctorate in organizational leadership from Argosy University.
In his application, he cited success in changing the 10-year vision plan for Smyrna to be staff-driven, to avoid volunteer burnout. He said that’s led to a 41% completion rate and the creation of key stakeholder groups.
“However, the greatest part of the Vision plan to date has been the critical citizen feedback we have received which played a major role in the implementation of the city’s 2018 comprehensive plan,” he said.
Andrews noted he worked to help Smyrna become the first city in Georgia to have a “hands-free” law to keep drivers from holding cellphones behind the wheel. Now it’s a statewide law.
He said the first 100 days of his time as the Covington city manager would include setting “SMART” — specific, measurable, achievable, results-focus and time-bound — goals for departments and organizations. Andrews also said he’d work on building relationships with employees, the mayor and council and key business stakeholders.
Morgan said his current role gives him oversight of a department with a $49 million budget, and in it he’s implemented new technology, infrastructure upgrades and revenue opportunities.
He came to Covington in September 2017 after serving as the operations and maintenance superintendent with Marietta Power for nearly 13 years.
In that role, Morgan had oversight of day-to-day operations of three divisions, responsible for installation, repairing, testing and maintenance of all electrical equipment on the system. He also served as the chairman of the city’s pension board — a $108 million pension fund and a $35.5 million supplemental fund.
He has previous supervisory experience with the city of Cartersville. Morgan has a bachelor’s degree from Southern Polytechnic State (now Kennesaw State University) and a Master of Business Administration from Shorter University.
Morgan said he has 15 years’ experience in strategic planning, including five-year capital improvement plans in Covington.
He said the first 100 days of his time as city manager would include meetings with the mayor and council, along with employees and community stakeholders to get input “on the most pressing needs” in the city.
“I would also move forward with an operational assessment to ensure that we are moving forward efficiently,” he said.
“I’m excited for this opportunity because I can help make a difference in how we move forward as a city,” he wrote. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in Covington and I want to be an integral part of our ongoing process.
“I’m concerned with how our team interacts and moves forward with a shared vision for Covington.”
The notice given Wednesday notes the council may hold an executive session when it meets Nov. 20, followed by an open session.