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June 15, 2013

NARCOG close to naming new director

CULLMAN — The North-central Alabama Regional Council of Governments (NARCOG) is expected to name a new executive director within the next several days.

NARCOG board members are expected to interview two candidates Tuesday during a special called meeting at the organization’s building in Decatur. It would be the first permanent director NARCOG has had in roughly a year-and-a-half.

“I feel Auburn is brining in good people,” board chairman Stanley Yarbrough said. “They’ve done a great job in the search. From what I’ve heard, we had a lot apply, and I’m glad that many showed interest. I’m just glad we’re finally moving forward.”

Earlier this year, the NARCOG board agreed to hire Don Terry Veal of Auburn’s University Center of Government Services to handle the search for a $20,000 fee.

Interim Director Stefanie Franklin informed the board during it’s monthly May meeting that the list of applicants had been narrowed down to three. The name of the applicants were not given to Franklin, but was told one was from north Alabama, one resided near the Alabama/Mississippi line, and the other from Texas.

Per the NARCOG board’s request, Auburn narrowed the three candidates down to two. It’s unknown which two will be interviewed.

“This was the only way we could get candidates and be unbiased about it,” Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long said in February. “We’ve tried it the other way twice, and it always comes down to politics, and it shouldn’t be about that. It should be about our seniors.

NARCOG has been looking for a permanent executive director since Neal Morrison resigned in September of 2011 to accept a cabinet seat under Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. The executive director’s position was offered to Cullman County resident Shane Bailey in January of 2012, but he declined to take it after several months due to the uncertainty surrounding the organization.

“I’m glad this is winding down,” Long said by phone Friday. “Hopefully we’re on our way to getting some stability back in the organization.”

Yarbrough expressed his appreciation to everyone involved throughout the process.

“There’s been great cooperation from everyone involved,” Yarbrough said. “There is a whole different atmosphere at NARCOG now. I’m glad we’re expediting the process and are moving as quickly as we are. It’s good to be moving forward.”

* Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 135, or by email at agraves@cullmantimes.com

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