The Glynn County Commission has once again named Jeff Chapman the sole finalist for the county manager’s job – a little more than a month after Chapman withdrew from consideration for the position.
By a 4-3 vote the commissioners voted Thursday to name Chapman, the county’s tax commissioner, the only candidate for the job that most recently paid $181,000, an $80,000 increase over Chapman’s current position. The county government Thursday night released a brief statement announcing the commission’s decision to name Chapman, setting up a 14-day public comment period.
Voting for Chapman were Cap Fendig, Chairman Wayne Neal, Sammy Tostensen, and Walter Rafolski. Opposed were Alan Booker, David O’Quinn and Bill Brunson. It mirrored the commission’s vote in July, when he was first named the sole candidate.
The commission was on the verge of hiring Chapman last month, when he withdrew suddenly, saying he had concerns about taking a job that offered only a one-year employment contract.
It was unclear Thursday night whether the county had altered its terms for the position.
When the commissioners named Chapman in July, they set aside two qualified candidates – both women – recommended by a professional search firm hired by the county. The county paid the search firm more than $17,000 for its recommendations
As opposition to Chapman’s appointment mounted, particularly on social media, he pulled out of contention, leaving the county commissioners no clear path to find a manager.
At a July commission meeting, Tostensen rejected assertions that the commissioners had done anything wrong in voting to appoint Chapman, even though Chapman didn’t apply for the job, wasn’t among the candidates vetted by a county-hired search firm and didn’t have the advertised qualifications.
“There are no requirements for that position in writing, and there are no state requirements about on how to go about choosing a county manager,” Tostensen told an opponent of the appointment. “You’re assuming that you have the right criteria, which there is none.”
After the application process was closed, two commissioners approached Chapman, a longtime politician, suggesting he raise his hand for the job, which would come with an $80,000 annual raise over his position as tax commissioner. Despite the job’s advertised requirements, Chapman has no college degree or experience as a public administrator.
Tostensen said the commission was free to ignore the search firm, which, he said, provided candidates who weren’t up to the job. “We have a right as commissioners if we see a candidate that we feel would be right to fill that position,” he said.