Villa Rica hires former Douglas employees; Hallman to lead finance, King will head up public works

Jennifer Hallman has been hired as Villa Rica’s new finance director, a position she held in Douglas County for about 14 years.

Two government positions for Villa Rica were filled by former Douglas County employees during a called meeting of the Villa Rica City Council on Friday. The council met to approve the hiring of a public works director and a city finance director.

The duties of public works have been part of those assigned to other department heads. Previously, the job was being done by Pete Zorbanos, whose title is Director of Utilities. More recently, the job was that of Bobby Elliott, Community Development Director and City Engineer.

On Friday, the council approved hiring Lavon King to fill the public works position. King was formerly manager of maintenance and construction of Douglas County’s Department of Transportation, a position he had held since 2014.

City Manager Tom Barber said Tuesday that the public works director would oversee the city’s streets and sanitation as well as supervise the paving of roads and building sidewalks. That, he said, would free Elliott to concentrate on his primary duties for the city.

The position of city finance director has been open since the promotion earlier this month of the city’s chief financial officer, Sarah Andrews, to assistant city manager.

In her new role, Andrews will retain the CFO title but also supervise finance and accounting, purchasing, customer service, human relations and information technologies.

On Friday, the council approved the hiring of Jennifer Hallman to be the city’s new finance director. She previously held the same title in Douglas County for about 14 years. Her role in the city is expected to allow Andrews to function more fully in her new role.

In recent weeks, city officials have discussed the possibility of new hires within city staff due to “shakeups” in neighboring counties.

During the March 9 council meeting, at which Andrews was appointed to the assistant city manager position, Barber described the move as related to a long-term “succession planning” for city staff.

In previous meetings, both Barber and those on the council have spoken of the loss of “institutional memory” for the city when long-term staffers have left the city for new positions elsewhere, taking with them their on-the-job experience.

This has caused problems ranging from city workers not knowing where pipes run under city streets to city leaders being unsure of the rationale of previous decisions.