Ox­ford hires Monticello’s city man­ager, Bob Schwartz

The Covington News - - Front page - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

Ox­ford has hired a new city man­ager, as the coun­cil voted unan­i­mously Mon­day to of­fer a con­tract to Bob Schwartz, the cur­rent city man­ager in Monticello.

Schwartz will be­gin his new po­si­tion around Oct. 15 and will be paid an an­nual salary of $60,000 on a one-year, au­to­mat­i­cally-re­new­ing con­tract, Mayor Jerry Rose­berry said Thurs­day, not­ing that Schwartz came with ex­cel­lent qual­i­fi­ca­tions, ex­pe­ri­ence and rec­om­men­da­tions and met ev­ery one of the city’s cri­te­ria. Schwartz was se­lected from about 30 ap­pli­cants.

“I did the back­ground in­ves­ti­ga­tion my­self, draw­ing on my old days as an FBI guy, and ev­ery­body said if we can get this guy we should,” Rose­berry said Thurs­day. “He hit the top marks ev­ery­where. Bob’s at the age where he’s ready to set­tle down in a community like Ox­ford and fin­ish out his ca­reer here.”

Rose­berry said Ox­ford of­fi­cials were im­pressed by

Schwartz’s ex­pe­ri­ences as a city man­ager in three dif­fer­ent cities, as well as a 10-year stint at the Mu­nic­i­pal Tech­ni­cal Ad­vi­sory Ser­vice at the Univer­sity of Ten­nessee, which pro­vides tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to lo­cal gov­ern­ments in a va­ri­ety of ar­eas, in­clud­ing fi­nance, hu­man re­sources, le­gal as­sis­tance, pub­lic works and other ar­eas.

Schwartz has a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in in­ter­na­tional stud­ies and a mas­ter’s de­gree in pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion from the Univer­sity of South Carolina.

Ac­cord­ing to his LinkedIn page, Schwartz has been Monticello’s city man­ager since March 2009. Monticello, like Ox­ford, pur­chases elec­tric­ity from the Mu­nic- ipal Elec­tric Author­ity of Ge­or­gia and sells it to cus­tomers, a fact that also ap­pealed to Ox­ford of­fi­cials.

“(Elec­tric­ity) is an ex­tremely im­por­tant part of the city’s fi­nan­cial struc­ture, and it’s good that he comes with that ex­pe­ri­ence,” Rose­berry said.

Schwartz has also served as the city man­ager in Gar­den City and Americus, which is home to Ge­or­gia South­west­ern State Univer­sity and South Ge­or­gia Tech­ni­cal Col­lege.

“(His higher ed­u­ca­tion ex­pe­ri­ence) was an im­por­tant ad­di­tion for us, sim­ply be­cause Emory Univer­sity has such a large foot­print in our town, and a lot of what we’ve done in­volves them. He’s dealt with the Univer­sity of Ten­nessee and Ge­or­gia South­west­ern and knows how to re­late to aca­demics,” Rose­berry said.

Ox­ford Col­lege is in the process of $16 mil­lion-worth of ren­o­va­tions and ex­pan­sions, in­clud­ing a 10,000 square foot ad­di­tion to the col­lege’s li­brary. The col­lege pre­vi­ously built a new dor­mi­tory a few years ago and plans to build a multi-mil­lion dol­lar sci­ence cen­ter in the fu­ture.

“We work with the col­lege greatly on a lot of things; not a week goes by we don’t have some­one from the col­lege and city cor­re­spond­ing with one an­other. That’s why we’re ex­cited about Bob’s back­ground... He’s fa­mil­iar with aca­demics, and, as you know, they talk dif­fer­ently from us reg­u­lar folks,” Rose­berry said, jok­ingly. Schwartz’s wife is an ad­junct Span­ish pro­fes­sor at Ge­or­gia Perime­ter Col­lege.

Schwartz’s con­tract will be re­newed au­to­mat­i­cally at the start of ev­ery fis­cal year, July 1, un­less ei­ther the city or city man­ager pro­vide 90 days notice of in­tent not to re­new.

The city only ad­ver­tised the po­si­tion through the Ge­or­gia Mu­nic­i­pal As­so­ci­a­tion and did not pay any­thing, Rose­berry said.

Schwartz, who could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment Thurs­day, will re­place Ox­ford City Man­ager Clark Miller, who is re­tir­ing be­cause of health con­cerns.

Rose­berry once again praised Miller’s time with the city, not­ing that he helped ease em­ploy­ees, cit­i­zens and the coun­cil through the process of con­vert­ing to a city man­ager-type gov­ern­ment.

“I can’t say enough about Clark. He never said no; he al­ways said, ‘I’ll do my best,’ and he has,” Rose­berry said. “I’m sorry his health has given him prob­lems, but we’ll do all we can to help him.”

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