County moving ‘quickly’ to fill Patton’s position

Published 11:48 am Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dr. C.T. Stafford, chairman of the Decatur County Board of Commissioners, said Wednesday that the county is working “as quickly as possible” to fill the vacant county administrator position.

Tom Patton, the previous Decatur County county administrator, resigned Tuesday evening amid a controversy surrounding his alleged failure to timely report a February 2011 sewage spill at the Decatur County wastewater treatment plant.

Stafford said that there is not currently an interim county administrator—he and Board Vice Chairman Russell Smith are presently handling the administrative duties for the county. Stafford said the county is preparing its search advertisements and will soon begin the search for Patton’s successor.

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“We are all moving as quickly as possible, as far as filling this vacancy,” Stafford said. “The welfare of the county is our top concern.”

Stafford said the county will make an initial survey of the existing job market, to see if suitable candidates for the position are immediately available. If an ideal candidate expresses interest in the job, it could be filled quickly.

However, Stafford also said that it is possible the county may appoint an interim county administrator to serve on a temporary contracted basis, until the position is permanently filled.

“Once we see what’s potentially out there in the marketplace, we can better gauge the timeline of what this is going to take,” he said. “If it looks like it’s going to take longer, then we will have to use a temporary administrator while we continue the permanent search.

“The size of the county and the scope of its operations require someone with expertise.”

Stafford said citizens should continue to call the Decatur County Administrative Office, at (229) 248-3030, if they have any questions or concerns about county business.

“The county’s staff has been instructed on how to treat the calls that come in,” he said. “Citiziens can leave message for the administrative staff, or obtain the numbers to speak with specific department heads. If they want to speak to commissioners, our staff has been instructed to give out that information.”

Contact information for the commissioners and other administrative staff is also listed on the county’s website, at