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Granite Shoals delays hiring process for new city manager

granite shoals city council 7-13-22

Granite Shoals Police Chief Gary Boshears (second from left) sits beside Interim City Manager Peggy Smith (left). Both Smith and Boshears were put forth as potential candidates for the permanent city manager position at the Granite Shoals City Council's regular meeting on July 12. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Granite Shoals City Council once again delayed a decision on the process for hiring a new city manager during its regular meeting Tuesday, July 12. The council also further delayed deciding on how to proceed with a request to sell a sliver of parkland to adjacent property owners that has been appearing on the agenda since March.

Councilors were in favor of hiring from among current city employees, specifically pointing out the qualifications of Interim City Manager Peggy Smith, the longtime assistant city manager, and Police Chief Gary Boshears.

City Manager Jeff Looney was fired on June 14. The City Council on June 23 appointed Smith to serve as interim city manager until a permanent replacement is found.

Councilor Phil Ort quickly voiced his support for Smith as a potential candidate.

“We have people in our own house here that know this city,” Ort said. “Peggy Smith has been with us for a long time. She knows the job.”

Smith has been the assistant city manager of Granite Shoals for more than nine years. She was previously interim city manager in 2018 when then-City Manager Ken Nickel suddenly resigned

Councilor Ron Munos agreed with Ort’s proposal to hire in house, also backing Smith. 

“Let’s give Peggy a chance to test drive the city manager position and see how she performs,” he said.

Councilors Steve Hougen, Aaron Garcia, and Eddie McCoy also like the idea of looking within the city’s ranks before starting an outside search for candidates.

Councilor Samantha Ortis agreed but suggested Boshears as an option. 

“If we are going to look internally, then we can’t overlook Chief Boshears as well,” she said.

Boshears has been with the Granite Shoals Police Department since 2006 and holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Phoenix. Ortis’ husband, John Ortis, is a captain in the police department.

Boshears, Smith, and Fire Chief Tim Campbell, who are already at work on the 2022-23 budget, presented the council with a preliminary budget during Tuesday’s meeting. A more thorough city budget will be discussed at a meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 14, at City Hall, 2101 Phillips Ranch Road.

With the fiscal year coming to an end on Sept. 30, the council is looking to Smith, Boshears, and Campbell to guide it through the process of adopting a budget.

The council unanimously expressed support for maintaining Smith as interim city manager throughout the budget season and waiting to make any decision on a permanent hire until that process is complete.

Granite Shoals City Attorney Joshua Katz read section 4.01 of the City Charter, which lists the requirements of a city manager:

“The city manager shall be appointed solely upon the city manager’s executive and administrative and educational qualifications and shall have previous city manager or administrator or assistant city manager experience and/or a bachelor’s degree in public administration, business administration, or a related field.”

dakota@thepicayune.com