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Finalists picked for county administrator
John Grotheer - photo by File

Members of the Bryan County Board of Commissioners named the top three candidates for the position of county administrator Tuesday during the board’s regular meeting in Pembroke.
Interim county administrator John Grotheer, Raymon Gibson and Benjamin Taylor are the finalists. Gibson was Cochran city manager. Taylor is city manager in Ashburn.
The three were chosen from a field of about 50 candidates, according to District 4 commissioner Carter Infinger. Infinger headed up the search and said commissioners looked at such things as the applicants’ job experience, longevity in their fields and what responsibilities they held.
Grotheer, Gibson, and Taylor, met their criteria and were also qualified in areas such as finances and human resources, Infinger said, noting the county administrator is appointed by the commissioners and runs the day-to-day operations of the county.
Grotheer, who is has been finance director in Bryan County since 2009, said the responsibilities of county administrator “include but are not limited to supervising county departments, serving as staff liaison 

to the Board of Commissioners; overseeing the administration of the county’s budget, preparing policies, codes, ordinances, contracts and other documents for the consideration of the Board of Commissioners; and meeting with citizens, residents, business owners and the media regarding county operations, services and issues.”
Grotheer continued: “in my current role I have gained an understanding of the challenges ahead for Bryan County and believe my background and experience have prepared me to fulfill the role as county administrator.”
Grotheer said he wanted to help the county when he took the job as interim administrator by moving the county forward and reaching the goals and objectives the commissioners established
“It is my goal to provide the most cost effective and efficient services to our citizens, to remain financially stable, and to maintain our rich heritage and outstanding quality of life currently enjoyed by our citizens,” he said.
Grotheer thinks his experience in county and municipal government administration and financial management along with his understanding of Bryan County Government as finance director that made his application stand out to the commissioners.
Grotheer has a master’s in business administration from Troy State and a bachelor’s in accounting from Savannah State. He’s married to Dr. Diane Drew-Grotheer.
Taylor said the county’s schools were one reason he applied for the job.
“When I learned of this opportunity, I was extremely excited because Bryan County and Coastal Georgia is a wonderful place to raise a family,” Taylor said. “The substantial population increase over the past decade is evidence of this great living environment. The educational opportunities for my children, here in Bryan County, played a tremendous role in my decision to apply for the position.”
“Also, the Bryan County commissioners are a progressive group of elected officials with a great reputation around the state,” he continued. “And finally, the employees of the Bryan County government seem to be an extremely competent and capable group of individuals.”
Taylor said he believes his 10 plus years of experience in the same jurisdiction and the fact that his education is specifically focused on local government made his application attractive to the commissioners.
He also said “I feel my experiences as a city manager should translate well for Bryan County. My city has faced some of the same challenges as Bryan County over the past decade.”
“The aspect I enjoy the most about this type of job is the variety of issues that may surface during the course of a day and having the opportunity to address them,” said Taylor.
Taylor is also familiar with the area because he is a native of South Georgia and attended graduate school at Georgia Southern.
Gibson was recently Cochran city manager, but the city’s website now lists Jerry Murkerson as interim city manager.
Gibson had worked at Cochran since 2012 and prior to that he was the assistant city manager and the city administrator of Stockbridge.
Gibson could not be reached. In his cover letter to commissioners, Gibson spoke of his experience and said he was applying “because of the great opportunity and the great quality of life that is provided within Bryan County.”
Gibson praised the county’s leadership while noting “today’s ever changing economy is forcing the majority of local governments to do more with less, while at the same time maintaining the excellent service delivery currently evident in Bryan County.”
Gibson has a bachelor of arts in urban studies from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, an honors diploma in municipal planning and development from the Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ontario and a master of business administration from Columbia Southern University in Alabama. He started work in 1997 as a junior planner with Millington & Associates, a development consulting firm in Canada.
Infinger said once they announce the top three candidates they cannot offer anyone the position for 14 days, this is so the “public can vet the applicants,” he said.
Whoever gets the job will replace Ray Pittman, who was hired in October, 2012 and in April announced his resignation from the job that at the time had an annual salary of $107,000.

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