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Granite Shoals changes course in city manager search

Granite Shoals councilors Ron Munos and Kevin Flack

Councilor Ron Munos (left) took on the role of City Manager Search Committee chairman after Mayor Aaron Garcia stepped down from the position. Councilor Kevin Flack (right) filled Garcia’s vacant spot on the committee. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Granite Shoals Mayor Aaron Garcia stepped down from the City Manager Search Committee after an executive session during the City Council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 14. His place as chairman was assumed by Councilor Ron Munos, whose commission spot was filled by Councilor Kevin Flack. 

The meeting ended with Munos requesting a future agenda item to discuss and possibly offer the full-time job to Interim City Manager Peggy Smith. He also suggested adding an agenda item to discuss changing the search for city manager to one for an assistant city manager and finance director. 

Garcia originally formed the search committee in December 2022 to speed up the process but was criticized recently when he made an executive decision on the conditions of the search without consulting the committee. His approved advertisement for the city manager job was pulled and the committee met on Feb. 8 to further discuss the matter.

Granite Shoals has been on the hunt for a new city manager since Jeff Looney’s firing in June 2022. Smith, who was assistant city manager at the time, became the interim city manager shortly after Looney left. The council hired Strategic Government Resources in October 2022 to conduct a nationwide job search. SGR put together an advertising campaign for the job, which Garcia approved on his own, leading to friction with the committee.

“It was agreed upon that I would step out of my role on the search committee and focus on other things that a mayor’s duties pertain to,” Garcia said. “I think it’s important to put aside any personal feelings and do what is best for the city.”

Smith has worked for Granite Shoals since April 2008 and has a total of 30 years of government experience. She made a formal application for the permanent city manager position as soon as it became available and is ready to take on the job if that is what the council decides, she told DailyTrib.com.

“Since October, when (the council) made the announcement to use SGR as a search firm, I had no idea what they were going to do,” she said. “But I had confidence, with my experience, that I would be a finalist in the process.”

dakota@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Granite Shoals changes course in city manager search

  1. I’m proud of our community leaders for resolving differences and moving our city forward.

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