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Powers tapped to fill Thomson administrator role

Don Powers will serve as the City of Thomson's next City Administrator.

Thomson City Council members selected Mr. Powers by a unanimous vote last Thursday, capping off a week of interviews with the final three candidates for the position.

Mr. Powers will take over the city's day-to-day reigns from Bob Flanders, who will remain on board for a temporary transition phase.

Mr. Powers said he's excited to get started in his new position.

"I'm proud that the mayor and council had the confidence in me to follow some pretty impressive folks who have held this spot over the past 15 or so years," he said. "I'm also ready to get working on learning the day-to-day routine, spending the appropriate time with Bob over the next few months to ensure as good of a transition as possible."

Thomson Mayor Bob Knox, Jr., said several details such as salary, a starting date and a training period with Mr. Flanders would be worked out in the upcoming weeks. Mr. Powers is expected to join Thomson officials for the upcoming Georgia Municipal Association Mayor's Day conference and training meetings in Atlanta and may be in his new position within a couple of weeks.

But Mr. Powers already knows some of the challenges and opportunities ahead.

"Several joint city/county projects are underway that need finishing: sewer and water system expansions, additional hangars at the airport, the Thomson Company complex rehab, doing the work regarding the new CDBG awards for housing upgrades, the eastern bypass and the grants for downtown," he said. "Lots of folks are working together to make these happen, but they are pressing issues nonetheless. Putting the planning in place to ensure we grow properly is key as well. (There is) no shortage of challenges."

Mr. Powers was one of three final candidates for the job. The other two were Thomson-McDuffie County Information Technology Director Kelly Evans and former Sylvester and Hahira City Manager Danny Lucas.

Mayor Knox said Mr. Powers' management experience, his private sector experience at Georgia Iron Works and his existing working relationship with local governments tipped the scales in Mr. Powers' favor.

"He knows this community," Mayor Knox said. "He's lived here all his life."

McDuffie County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton said moving Mr. Powers from the Forward McDuffie office to Thomson City Hall conjures mixed emotions.

"I hate to see Don go from down there, obviously, but I'm glad we've got somebody at city (administrator) that we know we can work with," he said.

Now, officials are focusing on filling Mr. Power's job at Forward McDuffie - the cooperative that covers the local Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Board and development authorities.

Chairman Newton said the search for a new Forward McDuffie Director will begin "post haste." He said the county will begin advertising the opening as soon as possible. He said the detailed job description that was prepared prior to Mr. Powers' hiring will be very helpful in the search.

"Forward McDuffie will meet soon to get a plan in place," Mr. Powers said. "...We want to do it sooner rather than later."

Meanwhile, Mr. Powers said he's excited about his new job.

"Taking a new job is always an exciting event, no matter the circumstances," he said. "For me, I like having an opportunity to contribute and help the future of the city unfold in a positive way. It takes a lot of time and steady work."

But it will also allow time for his family, Mr. Powers said.

"I'm also blessed to be able to work right here in the community that my family lives in, as opposed to commuting away from Thomson to earn a living," he said. "That works for more and more people, but I prefer working where I live."

McDuffie Mirror Staff Writer Kristopher Wells and WTHO's Mike Wall contributed to this report.

Web posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007

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