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Granite Shoals promotes assistant city manager to top spot, hires new city secretary

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

GRANITE SHOALS — The Granite Shoals City Council hired a new city manager May 21 during a special meeting, but this person is actually a familiar face to residents and staff.

Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Ken Nickel will take over the city manager position as of July 1.

“The reason (his official start date) is July 1 is we needed time to locate and hire a new finance director,” Mayor Dennis Maier said. “The city manager and finance director are each jobs themselves, and we didn’t feel it would be right to give Mr. Nickel basically two full-time jobs.”

Nickel takes over the position previous filled by Judy Miller. In January, the council voted to release Miller and not renew her contract. Nickel served as the acting city manager immediately after the council’s January action. The council later tapped Marvin Townsend to serve as interim city manager.

Nickel joined the city as finance manager in December 2010. The council later tagged on the assistant city manager position to Nickel’s job duties as well.

“He has first-hand knowledge of the city,” Maier said. “He’s been instrumental in preparing the last two budgets, so he knows the city. He’s an excellent fit for Granite Shoals.”

The council doubled up on the hires by also naming Elaine Simpson of Garland the new city secretary.

She begins June 3.

“We’re very excited about getting her,” Maier said. “She is extremely professional and very capable.”

The city secretary, the mayor explained, is much more than a clerk or typist.

“I don’t think most people really understand the role the city secretary plays,” Maier said. “She produces agendas. She handles elections. In this case, she’s also the human resources person. She takes care of records management, which is much more than filing a few things. It’s a very complex position. There are a lot of laws and regulations she’s required to know and comply with.”

Simpson replaces the former city secretary who was charged with taking money from the municipal court. In recent months, the city hired interim City Secretary Ann Smith to fill the role until the council made a permanent selection.

Maier praised both the interim city manager and the interim city secretary.

“They are both two very professional people,” he said. “They really helped keep the city going.”

daniel@thepicayune.com