Shanahan, who has been with Augusta’s consolidated government since March 2011, joins Bibb County (Ga.) Chief Administrative Officer Steve Layson as the two top picks for the county manager position, according to York County Council member Curwood Chappell.
“I want common sense,” said Chappell, 85, who is in his 22nd year on the council. Too many candidates arrive with advanced degrees, then try to “do too much” in the fast-growing, yet still somewhat rural, community, Chappell said.
“Before you know it, they’re in the pockets of all the constituents,” he said.
The peace that York has enjoyed since January under interim Manager Anna Moore is part of the reason the county has yet to fill the job, and Moore isn’t interested in taking the job permanently, Chappell said.
It would mean a significant salary boost for Shanahan if he gets the job. York’s new manager will earn $140,000 to $160,000, officials said; Shanahan makes about $118,000 in Augusta.
Deputy Administrator Tameka Allen, who doubles as information technology director, makes $131,798, and Administrator Fred Russell earns $136,859.
Shanahan, who was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in the U.S., joined city government at a rocky time – the start of a restructuring that eliminated at least 26 positions as it combined several department functions.
After a few months on the job, Shanahan stood by as the Augusta Commission narrowly decided against terminating Russell for secretly approving raises for 44 employees while the remainder of the city’s 2,600-plus employees endured furloughs and pay cuts.
A year later, Shanahan conducted human resources investigations of employees in upper ranks of the Augusta Fire Department and Recreation, Parks and Facilities after which several, including Recreation Director Tom Beck, lost their jobs.
Commissioner Donnie Smith, who took office in January, said Shanahan’s ambition to be the “No. 1 guy” in York County spoke to his “track record” as a leader in a previous Camden County, S.C., position and in Augusta.
“Certainly, Bill has been a valuable contributor to our government; he’s taken care of his responsibilities in a good manner,” Smith said. “A lot of people are content to sit back and be No. 2, but Bill wants to be the No. 1 guy, and I wish him the best.”
York has fewer employees than Augusta, but the county of 240,000 people includes five distinct municipal governments, including Rock Hill and Fort Mill, that also provide services within their jurisdictions.
With initial interviews of five candidates and a meet-and-greet with York residents behind them, the two finalists will interview again with the council, which will make a final decision “pretty shortly,” Chappell said.