New directors hired to lead Cobb public safety, public service
by Jon Gillooly
January 09, 2013 01:10 AM | 3719 views | 5 5 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jackie McMorris
Jackie McMorris
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Jack Forsythe
Jack Forsythe
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MARIETTA — In a unanimous vote, the Cobb Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved two candidates to serve as the county’s director of public safety and director of public services.

Jack Forsythe of Currituck, N.C., who served in executive roles with NASA and FEMA/Homeland Security, was selected as the county’s next public safety director.

“Mr. Forsythe is well qualified, has a tremendous range of experiences and brings to the position a perspective that will help us continue to provide top level public safety services countywide,” said county manager David Hankerson, who recommended that commissioners hire him.

The board also approved Jackie McMorris of Canton, chief of staff of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, as the county’s new public services director.

“Ms. McMorris worked in a similar position in a highly respected county, she has demonstrated a commitment to learning and applying her knowledge in a variety of areas,” Hankerson said. “I think she will be a great asset to Cobb County.”

The board’s approval gives Hankerson authority to negotiate a starting salary for each position, which will be nailed down in the next week or so, county spokesman Robert Quigley said.

Forsythe said he looked forward to getting started by meeting the fire and police departments’ personnel, Emergency 911 and Communications Bureau personnel and the Animal Control staff. He said his first 100 days will consist of gathering information by meeting with county staff and residents to open the lines of communication and elicit information to further evaluate the current state of the public safety agency.

“I will be extremely open to explore recommendations from groups and/or task forces for improvement of our public safety efforts for the citizens of the county,” he said.

Forsythe said he would be taking a close look at the current staffing of all organizations, operations, and organizational structures to ensure the organizational structure maximizes the mission of the public safety agency.

“The most important focus will be on how can we provide the safest communities for the citizens of Cobb County; the most secure work organizations for our employees, and the most updated and forward-thinking technological advancements for our public safety organizations,” he said. “Keeping in the tradition of the excellence in Cobb County management, I will look at our administrative and procedural polices for efficiencies, reducing any duplication, and looking for opportunities for smart consolidations for improvements of expenses and efficiencies.”

Forsythe said over his 30 years in public safety in state, local, and federal governments, and private consulting organizations, he has never been more excited about an opportunity as he is to lead the public safety efforts for Cobb.

“On a personal note, I am truly honored and humbled with this opportunity, an opportunity that culminates my 30-plus years of public safety experience and leadership with one of the top county’s in the country and in a position that I would exemplify as the pinnacle of my career,” he said.
Comments
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notsurprised2013
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January 09, 2013
So let me get this straight, They hired a man who is not a Georgia Certified Peace Officer or Certified Firefighter to manage our cops and firemen. He left his last post under suspicious circumstances that bring his integrity into question.

Per Chance
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January 09, 2013
Has anyone asked themselves why Mr. Hankerson has had three direct report positions open that he has been unable or unwilling to fill from within? I realize this is government, but any CEO worth his salt knows it is a poor reflection on his or her leadership if they can't promote from within for some of their vacancies. It means you have dropped the ball on grooming and developing your organization AND is that not what we pay Mr. Hankerson for????
heyperchance
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January 10, 2013
If you think that Mr. Hankerson gets to make these decisions without the "influence" of Commissioners then you are sadly mistaken. And when I say "influence" I mean directive.
@ Per Chance
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January 10, 2013
First, the decision (i.e. timing and funding) to fill these positions rest solely with the BOC and not the county manager. Second, the fact that these positions were filled by outside individuals is certainly a concern however, you should be mindful that the decision is not nor has it ever been solely that of the county manager. These appointments have little to do with the qualifications of the internal candidates and more personal political agendas.
Just Wait
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January 10, 2013
Wow, I never thought I would see anyone defending Hankerson in this venue.
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