The newest kid on the block of new county employees in high profile jobs is John Bullard, who completed his second day on the job Tuesday as county administrator for Blount County.
More than any other one person, he’s the primary point of contact for ordinary Blount Countians who have business to do with – or questions to ask about – the county, especially the county commission.
But that item – being the first option for public contact on substantive matters affecting county administration – doesn’t appear in his job description. What appears there, much condensed and paraphrased, is the following.*
• develops and manages the county budget and ensures the accuracy of budgetary and accounting transactions
• prepares year-end financial statements and monitors and man- ages financial transactions
• keeps commissioners informed about county business, and carries out their decisions and directives
• carries out administrative tasks in connection with commission meetings and monitors and assists with miscellaneous administrative functions (includes handling complaints from the public and general fact-finding, trouble shooting, and problem-solving)
•supervises commission staff and supports county departments as needed
So, here’s a quick profile of the man who before long may feel he must be all things to all people. Or at least try. But day two on the job is too soon to have to worry about that.
From: Blountsville. Graduated from J. B. Pennington in 1999. Now lives in Cleveland.
Education: Attended Athens State University where he majored in accounting, then transferred to The University of Alabama where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in financial planning and business. He holds a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) certification.
Last job: worked as financial planner for AC Financial Partners in Birmingham. Prior work experience: 11 years in banking/accounting/financial planning in four previous jobs.
Family: Married to Amanda 16 years, with three children: Austin, 13; Olivia, 11; and Addison (she), 6.
What are you most looking forward to in your job as county administrator?
Bullard: “I am looking forward to being back in Blount County every day, working with great people, and serving the people of our county. I am grateful to the commissioners for the opportunity.”
Q: How do you most like to spend your free time?
A: Fishing with my son; spending family time on the Locust fork River, kayaking or sometimes fishing or swimming; working in the yard (believe it or not); taking time out at a family retreat at Fort Morgan on the Gulf.
Q: What about weekends?
A: Just staying at home and taking it easy a lot of the time.
Q: Name at least two pet peeves – one from your personal life and one from your business life.
Editor’s note: Bullard, out of what the interviewer deemed an over-abundance of decency, nearly failed this test. “I can’t think of anything that bothers me all that much,” he said. Then when the interviewer gave an example from business (people who arrive too early for meetings), he went the example one better: “OK, when I’m working with someone on something – or especially when I’m working on a team of people who are supposed to all be working together– I’m all about serving, and I’m especially all about teamwork. It bothers me when occasionally you find yourself talking to someone where it’s all about themselves, about what they want.” Bullard went on to say that he tries to adapt and focus on the common goal and move forward, but it bothers him all the same. Good peeve.
Bullard didn’t produce a pet peeve from his personal life – out of what the interviewer judged to be an abundance of caution. Good qualities – decency and caution – in a county administrator.
*Wording not provided by the county commission.