Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Carlton McGee - Courier - City waiting on resignation letter

Published in the Courier News, Tuesday, October 17, 2006

City waiting on resignation letter

Plainfield not yet starting search to replace Administrator Carlton McGee.

Staff Writer

PLAINFIELD -- City Administrator Carlton McGee's decision to resign effective Oct. 31 has surprised Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, who said Monday the city has yet to receive his letter of resignation.

"I've heard that he may resign, but until we have it in writing, I can't say officially what we're planning," Robinson-Briggs said.

But in an interview Monday afternoon, McGee said he is planning on leaving after 10 months of duty to take the position of chief financial officer for the Atlanta school district. He said he learned he got the job one month ago after successfully completing two rounds of interviews with the school district.

"I was not looking for work. It wasn't something I initiated," McGee said. "But the opportunity was so great, I felt that I could not pass it up."

McGee's new position will pay him $185,000. He currently makes $118,000 in Plainfield. McGee acknowledges his new position comes with a considerable salary increase but says it will also be a valuable experience and an opportunity to be close to his son, who attends Morehouse College in Atlanta.

"I have two kids in college, so I have to work," said McGee, who has four children in total. "I wasn't looking to leave the city, but I have to think about my family, too."

Robinson-Briggs said Monday she was happy with the work McGee accomplished as the city administrator, and that once the city receives a letter of resignation, it will pursue filling his position.

"If, in fact, that is the truth, I feel like he (McGee) has done a very good job for the city, and we wish him well," Robinson-Briggs said. "Once I know for sure, I'm going to have to sit down with our personnel director, and we'll do a really thorough review of what we need in someone for the position."

McGee said the Atlanta district has had a vacancy for its chief financial officer position since Aug. 30 and had been conducting a nationwide search to fill the position since.

McGee said a friend who sits on the school district's search committee asked him to submit his resume for consideration. He said he found out he had been chosen for the job approximately three weeks from the time he submitted his resume.

"I was surprised because usually these things tend to take a while and this was very, very fast," McGee said. "I'm flattered that they want me."

In addition to being the city administrator, McGee also has been serving as the acting director of administration and finance.

The administration had recently appointed Tyshammie Cooper to serve as acting director of administration and finance , but Robinson-Briggs said Monday that Cooper's appointment is currently under review.

McGee said that after he leaves the city, he will make himself available for two to three months to offer assistance as the city moves to hire a new administrator. During that transition, McGee said he will be off the city payroll and will already be in Atlanta, where he plans to begin his new job shortly after Oct. 31.

McGee acknowledged several challenges he faced as the city administrator, including dated technology and municipal facilities, a tight budget, and residents' quality of life concerns -- all of which he said made it difficult at times for the city to be proactive instead of reactive.

Still, McGee said he felt the city is heading in the right direction under Robinson-Briggs and applauded efforts made under the new administration to plan for new development, create a strategic plan for in-house operations and address long-standing social issues.

"I think the next administrator will just have to focus on making sure his or her actions speak louder than words," McGee said. "That's what you're remembered by -- what you did."

Christa Segalini can be reached at (908) 707-3142 or csegalini@c-n.com

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Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.