County manager a finalist in Fulton
by Jon Gillooly
May 03, 2013 12:22 AM | 5702 views | 9 9 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
David Hankerson
David Hankerson

Cobb County Manager David Hankerson is among three finalists for the position of Fulton County manager.

The Fulton County Board of Commissioners announced the three finalists Wednesday.

Fulton spokeswoman Bobbie Battista said the other two finalists are Dwight Ferrell, former MARTA deputy general manager, and Fulton County Finance Director Patrick O’Connor.

Fulton Board of Commissioners Chairman John Eaves said he hopes to name the winner in the next few weeks.

“We hired an executive search firm, and we gave them the charge of finding the best, and David Hankerson was among those that I brought before the commission for consideration, and certainly his reputation and the good work that he’s done over at Cobb County has resonated with me, and so that’s why we are very interested in him,” Eaves said, when asked why he’s trying to lure Hankerson away from Cobb.

Hankerson said last month that after being contacted by the search firm, he agreed to meet with the Fulton board in a private meeting to discuss the possibility of going to work there.

“I haven’t sat down with anybody or met with anybody or anything since that meeting,” Hankerson said Thursday.

Speaking of being in the top three for the Fulton job, Hankerson said, “If your name is out there, you like to be in the finalists, so it’s always an honor to be in the finalists.”

Hankerson remains uncertain on what it would take for him to accept the job if Fulton offered it to him.

“I don’t know,” he said. “You know the thing is certainly it would take a contract, but I don’t know how far we’re apart, what they’re offering, what’s their requirements, I don’t know of anything, so basically even if they offered it, we’re at square one.”

The position of Fulton County manager opened when Zach Williams left the job to become chief operating officer of DeKalb County in December. As Fulton County manager, Williams received a base salary of $200,000.

Hankerson receives a base salary of $246,923. His total compensation as manager of Cobb County is $274,007.

As for whether Fulton would be willing to pay him that amount, Eaves said, “It’s all negotiable. We want the best, and it’s all negotiable between the finalists and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.”

Eaves wouldn’t say if he had a favorite out of the three finalists.

“I think that all of the candidates who are under consideration right now are qualified to be the new Fulton County manager,” Eaves said. “So all three are qualified. County Manager Hankerson certainly has done in my opinion a stellar job over in Cobb County.”

Hankerson said since news reports were released that he was being considered for the Fulton job, his Cobb staff for the most part have told him not to leave.

“And that’s pretty well a consensus,” Hankerson said. “I mean, we’re a team, we work together, and that’s been my motivation here because I’ve assembled a good team. We’ve got a good team here, and that’s what makes Cobb County what it is, and sometimes when a component leaves the team, it affects the overall team.”

Hankerson said a lot of people from the community have also told him he doesn’t need to leave for Fulton.

“Of course a lot of people are going to be silent,” he said. “You don’t know what they’re thinking. But the ones that talk about it in the community just out in the grocery store or in a chamber meeting or just in passing, people will say, ‘What is this I’m hearing? You’re not serious are you?’ But you know, I’ve had good support from the community, good support from the staff, and overall you know you’re always going to have a few people that differ, but overall I’ve had good support from the Board of Commissioners, my staff and others, and most of them say, ‘I don’t want you to go, but at the end of the day it’s your decision.’”

Hankerson said he loves his job and working with his staff.

“And that’s the toughest thing. Even if I make the final one to sit down, I’ve got to think about all those things,” he said.

Hankerson, 67, has been eligible to retire since December 1, 2003. He has been employed as Cobb’s manager since 1993. The current amendment to his contract was approved Jan. 27, 2011, and will expire Jan. 31, 2014.


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May 04, 2013
Yea, for almost all the years he's been with Cobb county, we have had more money than we could spend, then when times get bad, you see how they really manage things. Grass not getting cut, budgets cuts, and furloughs for employees. That's poor management. He has nothing to lose no matter the current or future condition of the county, so why would he care? We need someone who has to preform or they lose their job, not someone that can leave when ever and its no problem to.
May 06, 2013
Last year, it was Paulding County. This year, it's Fulton County. Next year, what other county will it be? Just playing one county against the other - Sounds like posturing for more pay. Listen, if all Mr. Hankerson cares about is his paycheck, then, let him go to Fulton County. He can make a lot of money, but, the quality of politics will resemble something closer to a hornet's nest.

Besides, it would be nice after 20 years, to have someone with a new set of eyes to handle the County. I thank him for all the wonderful things he has done. And, it's been wonderful. Hopefully, he's passed along his wisdom and they can rise to the occassion.
May 03, 2013
He's done a good job in Cobb over the past 20 years, time for him to rotate out. But yes, Fulton County is a whole other scene. The drones are running the beehive down there.
Lord Helmet
May 03, 2013
Ah political maneuverings are so interesting!

Is this just another gambit to improve Hankersons' next contract? Does no one including the writer of this article remember Mr. Hankerson was considered for Pualding County Manager several years ago when this current contract was under consideration? That outside interest allowed Hankerson to negotiate a raise into his contract. The only raise anyone in the county got for a long time. Does one blame Hankerson? Or does one blame the commissioners and the comission chairman? To be sure, Hankerson has political power, but he cannot hire himself. Or can He?

Well, aside from all those mysterious issues, consider that Hankerson makes $275K per year when all his department heads make $125k or higher and then there is a public safety director making between the two figures. Thats alot of money. Anyone know how much Hankersons' assistant makes? Almost department head pay. So what is the deal?

Cobb County has been run the same way for a long time. Would change benefit the county?

So, it is a little galling to hang the moon over one person. Water department employees on welfare? Police officers the lowest paid in the Atlanta area? Cobb is run as a tight ship, but at significant hidden cost. Cobb can and will survive when Hankerson decides he's tired of Cobb.
Ohhh Puhleeze.....
May 03, 2013
Mr. Hankerson is obviously somewhat out of the loop. Someone in his position should have a healthy dose of cynicism when getting accolades from you honestly think they are going to tell you that you need to go? Do you honestly think they are going to tell you that they are tired of you getting the credit and them doing the work? Do you honestly think they are going to miss you playing games with their budgets and staff?

The reality is that every leader has people who like him and people who don't. In each case, the people who like or need you are going to be vocal. The others won't be until you are gone.

If they offer this job to Hankerson he will take it. Full retirement from Cobb PLUS the new salary...approaching half a million a year between the two....he would be insane not to take it. But, that leaves us with vacant positions to fill, policies to implement and the undoing of shortcuts to resolve. Not to mention the un-credentialed hire he just the way....Where is Willie?!
Just Wait
May 03, 2013
Fulton County's loss will be our gain. By the way Dave, the reason everyone tells you to stay is if you do, they want to keep their jobs.
May 03, 2013
Hankerson said he loves his job and working with his staff.

I could love my his job as well, with his pay and a staff that does all of the work.

Cobb let's keep this great Manager.

It would be impossible to replace this great honest man.

May 03, 2013
David Hankerson is a wonderful guy...but it is good time for him to move on, and that is what the whisper mill appears to want...Cobb County is an easy place to exist in government....he'll get eaten alive in Fulton County....just sayin.
May 03, 2013
Yea we are to miss the two mule deal and the dump truck deals along with other things that have been covered up; please jump across the river they love you and need you down there.
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