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Granite Shoals makes headway on filling vacant city positions

Granite Shoals City Secretary Dawn Wright

Dawn Wright was hired as Granite Shoals city secretary at the recommendation of Interim City Manager Peggy Smith. She got the approval of the entire City Council during its Oct. 24 meeting. The city has been without a full-time secretary since May. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Granite Shoals City Council approved the hiring of a new city secretary during its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 24. It also recognized the city’s new fire marshal.

Dawn Wright was chosen to fill the role of city secretary, a position that has been vacant for months. Interim City Manager recommended her because of her background in education administration and team-player attitude.

“I think she’ll be a real asset to our city,” Smith told the council.

As city secretary, Wright will be responsible for facilitating council meetings, acting as a liaison between the public and city officials, and supporting city projects with research and record management.

Smith, Fire Chief Tim Campbell, and Councilor Ron Munos interviewed two candidates for the position.

Munos also spoke highly of Wright’s qualifications.

“She said she was willing to pitch in and do whatever needs to be done,” he said.

Wright has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a master’s in education administration from Texas State University. Councilor Steve Hougen expressed his admiration for her educational background.

“Those are really high accolades,” he said.

Granite Shoals has been without a city secretary since May after Elaine Simpson resigned. City Accountant and Deputy Court Clerk Susan Nevills stepped in as interim city secretary in June and has been juggling all three positions.

Wright seemed up to the task at hand and excited to take on her new role.

“It’s going to require, for lack of a better term, ‘uber-multi-tasking’ at a very high level,” Wright told the council. “I am very ambitious and willing to just jump in and work.”

Hougen moved to approve the job offer to Wright with Councilor Phil Ort seconding the motion. The council then voted unanimously to offer her the position.


Granite Shoals Fire Marshal Chris Cowan and Police Chief John Ortis
Chris Cowan (right) brandishes his new Granite Shoals fire marshal badge for a photo alongside Fire Chief Tim Campbell. Cowan is an environmental crimes investigator for the police department and will now also serve as the fire marshal. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The council also recognized Environmental Crimes Officer Chris Cowan for taking on the role of Granite Shoals fire marshal.

Cowan was presented his new badge before the council with a round of applause.

“It makes my job a lot easier,” said Police Chief John Ortis. “Thank you, Chris. We’re all proud of you.”

As fire marshal, Cowan will be responsible for enforcing fire safety codes to ensure fire prevention. 

He is also the only official environmental crimes investigator employed by a city in the Highland Lakes and is responsible in cases of illegal dumping or hazardous waste contaminating the city’s water.

“I love our community. I’m doing everything I can to make sure that we are going to be clean, healthy, and have good drinking water,” Cowan said after being goaded into a speech. “Our community is going to be safer, brighter, and healthier. We are going to be a shining star in the chain of lakes. Thank you.”


The city is still in need of road and bridge employees, parks employees, a permanent city manager, and a mayor pro tem.

The council is actively seeking a full-time city manager using an executive recruitment firm and is expected to appoint a new mayor pro tem at its next meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16.