According to the agenda for the meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the council chambers at 4488 Pineview Drive, the council will have a closed session meeting to discuss City Manager Rick Eckert. Afterward, Mayor Pat Vaughn and council will consider an agreement “concerning his contract.”
According to the Henry Daily Herald newspaper, Eckert, who was hired in Powder Springs in May 2010, is one of four finalists for the city administrator position in McDonough. He has been a finalist for at least three other jobs in the past five months, in Jackson and Butts counties in Georgia, and La Plata County, Colo.
“The city manager had asked to meet with the council and discuss his contract and future career plans,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn said Eckert’s two-year contract, which pays him $115,000 annually, is set to expire in May. She said council members were aware Eckert was seeking the job in McDonough, but doesn’t know whether that will be a factor in his contract situation.
She said she understands that city managers look for other jobs.
“I think that’s fine,” she said. “I can understand city managers like to keep going up with their jobs, and have a challenge. That is OK.”
When asked if she thinks Eckert has done a good job in Powder Springs, Vaughn said, “Oh yeah. It’s been fine.”
Vaughn said the meeting could simply be to begin contract negotiations.
“We don’t know what all this is about,” she said.
Councilman Al Thurman declined to comment about Eckert, calling it a personnel issue. Other council members did not return requests for comment. Eckert and McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland also did not return calls.
Ra Barr, who served as a Powder Springs councilman from 2003 until 2010, before Eckert was hired, said he thinks Eckert has done a good job.
“They probably shouldn’t have expected him to stay long to start with,” Barr said of Eckert. “He’s a good guy, and certainly from a professional standpoint, he’s a good city manager. Some other town would be lucky to get him.”
Powder Springs has certainly seen its share of turnover with city managers.
Dane Perry held the job until 2005. The position was then vacant until May 2007, when Charles Nickerson was hired. He was fired in January 2009, after which he sued the city for breach of contract. Vaughn said the suit was later dropped.
“If you look back at how long city managers stay, that’s not unusual — it’s three to five years,” Vaughn said.
The city of Powder Springs has a 13,940 residents, according to the 2010 Census.