Justin Kirouac, currently assistant manager in Johns Creek, said he was not looking for jobs generally when he applied for the position of county administrator in Oconee County.
He said he was looking for the “right opportunity, the right fit,” and he “targeted” Oconee County when the job was advertised because of the “real opportunity” the job provided.
Tonight (Tuesday), Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman John Daniell introduced Kirouac to the public at the Board’s agenda setting meeting as the sole finalist for the position.
Negotiations are underway to bring Kirouac aboard by the end of July, when current County Administrator Jeff Benko will retire
At the Commission meeting tonight Daniell announced the resignation of Oconee County Parks and Recreation Department Head John Gentry, providing Kirouac and the county a leadership challenge that will have to be dealt with rather quickly.
Earlier in the day, Daniell introduced Kirouac to Michael Prochaska, editor of The Oconee Enterprise, Lee Shearer, reporter for the Athens Banner Herald, and me at a meeting in the Commission Chamber of the Courthouse in Watkinsville.
Daniell and Benko sat in on the session.
Kirouac stressed at several points during the news conference his background in planning and the insights he will bring to the county as a result.
Kirouac also talked about his approach to leadership and his views of citizens.
He said listening is key to leadership and understanding that government “is a service organization” is crucial to working with citizens.
Kirouac, 41, lives in Lawrenceville, and he said he won’t be moving to Oconee County initially because of family concerns.
He has a 10-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son and doesn’t want to force them to move from their middle school and high school settings.
“I will be ingrained as part of the community, but I’m not planning on moving right now."
He thanked the Commission members for understanding his desire not to disrupt his family.
Development A Challenge And Opportunity
Kirouac said development was the biggest challenge for Oconee County but also the biggest opportunity.
“I view Oconee County as really at a crossroads,” he said.
“We would be foolish to not be highly selective in how it is we want to develop,” he said. “Just because somebody wants to develop a piece of property–there has to be what I would call the Oconee Standard.”
Kirouac said the work underway on the Comprehensive Plan for the county will be instrumental in determining how the county develops in the future.
I video recorded the 50-minute session with Kirouac.
He made a few introductory comments and then took questions.
Kirouac talked about both personal and professional topics and shared some of his experiences during his day-long visit to the county.
The session is unedited below.
Glad to hear that he understands Oconee doesn't want to be another Gwinnett. With a planning background, hopefully he can guide the Commission to create that "Oconee Standard."
Regarding his decision not to move here because of his kids... Gotta give him credit for putting his family first and thinking about his children's education. I know everyone wants this guy to uproot his family and move to Oconee, but talking from personal experience, pulling up stakes and moving to a new town puts trumendous stress on kids.
I for one wish Justin well!
He must think Gwinnett is a pretty good place, that is where he settled his family even though he was already working someplace else when the first child started to school. Johns Creek ain't such a bad place.
There's a (somewhat crass) saying among those who live in local government: You don't "blank" where you eat.
It's burdensome to live in the same community where you work in a department head/high profile position. Every time you go to the supermarket, restaurant, hardware store, etc., you get bombarded with questions, suggestions, etc. Some can be nice and some can be rude. Gets t be a bit much when someone angry berates you while getting milk from Publix with your kids.
Heck, if you don't cut you lawn enough or forget to rake your leaves you'll get flack. A professional needs to be able to go home and turn off work, focus on home & family, and then come back the next day refreshed and ready to go.
It's nice to have a separation between your public life and private life, especially for your spouse and children. This nonsense about why isn't the new manager moving here is utter nonsense. No need for small minded xenophobia.
As a military brat, I was moved around, too, and where Dad went, we went.
Want to be a part of the community? You move to it.
Not moving so as "not to uproot the family" is not exactly becoming a part of the community. What I get is that this man is temporary.
Since he seems a done deal, "negotiations" pending, I will have a hard time believing a word he says.
Re-open the search.
He sounds like a sound choice to me. He learned a lot in Gwinnett of what NOT to do, so I hope he will avoid those here. His concept of openness and transparency will benefit us all. I love the idea of an "Oconee Standard," which is long overdue and sorely needed as we move forward. Congratulations to Oconee County and thanks to John Daniell and the BOC for choosing wisely for a vital position!
Xardox, your doom and gloom grows tiresome, you see the bad in everything except what is on your agenda. It rings of a particular Board member that use to run this county.
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