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STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO

Granite Shoals City HallGRANITE SHOALS — In an unexpected move, Granite Shoals City Manager Ken Nickel resigned from the position during City Council meeting Feb. 27.

He turned in his resignation during the executive session of the meeting. The Granite Shoals City Council voted 5-1 to accept the resignation after Nickel and council members reconvened from executive session.

Nickel’s resignation is effective at the end of the business day Feb. 28.

“I think we will miss Ken Nickel and all his time with the city,” Mayor Carl Brugger said.

Nickel has served as city manager since May 2013.

Mayor Pro-Tem Jim Davant voted against accepting the resignation, and Councilman Tom Dillard was absent.

Assistant City Manager Peggy Smith is now acting city manager. City Council will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, in council chambers, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. The council will discuss the city manager vacancy in executive session.

No one said why Nickel resigned during the open session, which ended at 11:28 p.m. following the executive session, City Secretary Elaine Simpson said.

“I think the staff is going to miss him,” Simpson said. “He was very devoted to making us a professionally run city.”

Smith said she and Nickel made a very good team because of their diverse backgrounds and complementary styles: She has three decades in government, while he was in the private sector during much of that time.

Nickel began working for the city of Granite Shoals in the fall of 2010 as the finance director. He was promoted to city manager in May 2013.

During his more-than-four years as city manager, Nickel helped Granite Shoals in a number of areas, including:

• its operating reserves;

• its finance/bond rating, which helps secure loans and get better interest rates;

• its park system, which included building the Roddick Tennis Center and the Manzano Hike, Bike, and Run Trail;

• Phillips Ranch Road, Prairie Creek Road, and Valley View Lane improvements;

• its deer management program;

• and the biannual citywide cleanup.

“He was passionate about the city moving forward,” Smith said. “Mr. Nickel would want to be very short and sweet. He wants everyone to know that we made some good moves forward in his time as city manager. He wants to see us continue along those lines.”

Attempts to contact Nickel were not successful.

jfierro@thepicayune.com