City government reorganizing

Published 7:14 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2012

As is the case with any large business organization, the City of Bainbridge government routinely undergoes shifts in who is responsible for what, and which office they work out of.

In 2004, 14 separate city departments were combined under six divisions. Then in August 2011, six city divisions were consolidated into four — Public Safety, Public Services, Community and Economic Development and Administrative Services.

According to the budget for the city’s proposed 2012-2013 Fiscal Year, which begins on Oct. 1, this year will also see several changes. The Downtown Development Authority is splitting off as an independent agency, Public Safety has a new internal command structure, the Building Department has undergone wholesale changes and there are also some new city offices and contract employees.

Email newsletter signup



The Downtown Development Authority, which had previously operated as a function of city government, has been “spun off” as an independent organization, Hobby said. Part of its stated purpose is to “aggressively pursue redevelopment of threatened areas or properties.”

Amanda Glover, who formerly served as director of the city’s Community and Economic Development Division, has been appointed executive director of the DDA.

The Main Street program, headed by Dit Albritton, will also be moving with Glover, according to Hobby. Main Street “sponsors special events and advertising to bring customers into downtown Bainbridge,” produces a monthly newsletter about downtown happenings, and provides a listing of downtown properties available to lease or purchase.

“We will still fund the DDA’s budget. However, they will have their own board of directors which will decide how to spend that money,” Hobby said.

The City Council’s contribution to the DDA’s annual budget will be $160,054. Last year, the city budgeted $200,000 for DDA.

The existing DDA board, chaired by Al Collins, will oversee the budget going forward. The Council appoints members to the DDA board.

Assuming the new board saw fit to keep the pre-existing salaries, the DDA’s executive director would make $65,478, while the Main Street manager would make $34,445.


Community and Economic Development

Roy Oliver, who will succeed Glover as director of the city’s Community and Economic Development, will make a salary of $75,920. Oliver is the former manager of the Bainbridge Walmart. He will also perform some of the duties formerly handled by the position of assistant city manager.

Oliver’s office will retain an administrative assistant and a receptionist. The division also oversees the Leisure Services department, which was formerly a separate division.

“The majority of what we do [in this division] is dealing with people and customer service issues,” Hobby said. “I think Roy brings a great deal of experience in those areas.”


City Court

According to Hobby, State of Georgia officials had looked down upon Public Safety officers serving as the solicitor, or prosecutor, of City Court, primarily because they were not attorneys. Hobby said City Court Judge Josh Bell had been recommending for some time that the city hire an attorney so that the judge would no longer have to stand in the role of solicitor from the bench.

“[Judge Bell] had been having to ask directed questions of defendants from the bench, and that threatened his impartiality as a judge,” Hobby said.

Ryan Cleveland was hired to serve as solicitor at $24,000 per year.

Hobby said the city had these requirements for the solicitor: that he be a local attorney, that he have prosecutorial experience and that he did not already depend on City Court as a major source of income.

Since the solicitor’s salary will be more than the $15,400 that Bell made the previous year, the judge’s salary was raised to $25,200.

On the plus side, if the city and Bell implement a proposed new “house arrest” program for defendants, expenses on inmate housing would drop significantly to an estimated $71,446, down from $126,980 spent last year.


Planning and Zoning

Major Brannen, who was originally hired earlier in 2012 as an intern with the city, was appointed to perform Planning and Zoning administrative functions. The salary for that position is $25,625. The city will also spend $50,270 to outsource its building inspection services to SAFEBuilt. The city will see some savings, because the former on-staff building inspector has retired and the position of deputy city manager was eliminated after the resignation of Dustin Dowdy, who left to seek other employment.


Public Safety

Public Safety saw the retirements/resignations of a division director, a fire chief, a patrol major and three assistant fire chiefs within the last 18 months.

New Director Eric Miller began working in January and re-organized the department’s structure to better reflect its operational nature: providing both police and fire services to citizens. In the new structure, there is a deputy director and three majors who oversee investigations, fire suppression and code enforcement, and patrol, respectively.

Despite an overhaul of the department, which entailed various promotions and new assignments, Public Safety officers’ salaries total about the same as they did last year. In the 2012-2013 budget, the BPS payroll — including officers who supervise inmate work crews — is $2,146,663. The previous year’s payroll was $2,062,909.

Hobby said about $240,000 had been allotted for hiring new officers. There are currently 54 officers, including 18 at the entry-level rank of PSO. The city seeks to hire 12 new PSO officers and one new investigator. Six PSOs have already been hired and have graduated from firefighting academy, and are in the process of completing police academy, Hobby said.

BPS will also spend $425,444 on an as-yet-undetermined number of new patrol cars. However, due to Ford Motor Company discontinuing the Crown Victoria model, which had been equipped as patrol cars in the past, the city will have to choose from other makes and models, Hobby said. The Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Caprice and the Dodge Charger have been identified as potentially suitable purchases, the city manager said.

The vehicles will be paid for with money SPLOST V, which included Public Safety equipment as an approved use.


Offices moving

Two city departments will be moving into the former home of Public Safety on Shotwell Street, according to Hobby.

The old BPS headquarters will be occupied by Leisure Services and the Purchasing Department, both of which are currently located on Donalson Street downtown.

Hobby said the condition of the Purchasing Department’s building has deteriorated to where it could no longer be reasonably occupied. The Leisure Services building had undergone mostly cosmetic renovations in recent years, although the city’s waterfront connectivity master plan calls for the site, which is located on a bluff overlooking the Flint River, to be developed into a restaurant or lodging.


City Division Directors’ Salaries

City Manager, Chris Hobby — $111,887

(The city manager’s salary is set by the mayor and city council).

Administrative Services, Lisa Taylor — $79,830

Community and Economic Development, Roy Oliver — $75,920

Public Safety, Chief Eric Miller — $81,827

Public Services, Steve Winburn — $62,296

Leisure Services, Jason Strickland — $46,322


Note: With the exception of the city manager, the above salaries take into account different pay classes and each individual employee’s years of service. Oliver will perform some of the duties formerly handled by the position of assistant city manager.