Six days before law allows them to name a school superintendent, the McDuffie County Board of Education appointed Chairwoman Georgia Hobbs as the interim superintendent. The unanimous vote took place in a called meeting Tuesday morning at the McDuffie County Library. The motion was made by Bob Smith and seconded by Dexter Lovins. Board member Ella Mae Samuels was not present. No discussion preceded the vote.
Mrs. Hobbs said the board was acting on the advice of their attorney, Robert E. Knox, Jr.
"We don't anticipate any earth-shattering moves in the next six days," she commented during the announcement.
After a special called meeting on Father's Day, the board announced two finalists for the position vacated by the recent retirement of Mark Petersen. Narrowed from a list of 31 applicants, former Jones County Superintendent Jim LeBrun and McDuffie County Assistant Superintendent Jim Franklin are the final two prospects. State law requires a 14-day waiting period after the finalists are announced, to give the public time to comment.
At their regular meeting two weeks earlier, the board voted to appoint Accounts Recievable/Payroll Clerk Sheila Johnson back to her former position of administrative assistant to the superintendent. Mrs. Hobbs said Mrs. Johnson will perform the duties of both positions, but could not comment on how her hours would be regulated.
Comptroller Tom Smalley said the salary of both positions already was in the FY2010 budget, so having one person sharing the positions would be a savings in the budget. Mr. Smalley added that Mrs. Johnson will be compensated for her additional duties.
Mrs. Johnson was the assistant for Ed Grisham when he was superintendent of schools. She transferred to the finance department approximately one year after Mark Petersen became superintendent in 2004. Robin Browning was hired to replace Mrs. Johnson. Then, the board accepted Mrs. Browning's resignation late last year. Dr. Petersen did not hire a new assistant. He said it was to ease the budget cuts in his department as required in all departments. His final day was Tuesday, June 30.