Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington may be close to hiring a crime prevention director next week if a second round of interviews yields a candidate.
Six applicants who impressed the selection committee during preliminary interviews will return for another round of questions at the end of next week, said Judy Thomas, executive assistant to the mayor. “If one of these is the choice, then the mayor will take it to council by mid February,” she said.
Approval of a candidate will require six votes from the 10-member Columbus Council. Since winning approval for the position in November, Wetherington has been looking for a person to lead his Office of Crime Prevention. The crime prevention director will help coordinate crime prevention programs with other government agencies before expanding to other nonprofit groups.
If the second round of interviews doesn’t narrow the focus for a candidate, Thomas said the selection process would be delayed. “We are hoping we have someone elected, approved by council and on the job by mid March,” Thomas said. “We are looking at mid March. We have very good applicants. They are promising.”
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The crime prevention job will pay $51,877-$78,938 per year.
Wetherington was not available for comment Wednesday. He was in Atlanta to be honored as one of Georgia Trend magazine’s 100 most influential Georgians in the January issue.
Tom Barron, the director of the city’s Human Resources Department, said a second round of interviews seek more in depth information. “I think the first round of interviews is what we call preliminary,” he said. “We try to gain a little information and then it takes more in depth talking with folks to determine their true interests.”
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Thomas said the city’s affirmative action officer Reather Hollowell has been added to the search committee. In addition to the mayor, she joins Thomas, Barron, internal auditor John Redmond and Mike Gaymon, president of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Crime Prevention Board.
The city has received 94 applications for the position. If the committee needs to take a look at more candidates, Barron said the applications are available. It’s not uncommon to get 300-400 applications for one job, he said.
“It’s not over until it’s over,” Barron said. “We are into the process of interviews and interviewing but that doesn’t mean it’s over. We could come back and interview next week.”