We have a successful resolution to our search and we look forward to welcoming Gabriel Gonzalez to our community.

The last four months, since the resignation of our city manager Bill Keefer, have been a whirlwind of activity, decision-making and changes. During this time, we were fortunate to have a well-prepared team of individuals step up and help our City organization maintain services, meet project deadlines, and at the same time – begin the process of searching for a new City Manager. Because of the efforts of many, we have a successful resolution to our search and we look forward to welcoming Gabriel Gonzalez to our community officially on his first day – Nov. 15.

Before it’s time to welcome Gabe, I’d like to take a moment and share my gratitude for those who helped along the way. First, to our community, thank you for entrusting our Governing Body with the task of administering local government, selecting our City Manager and for your patience during the four-month process. Second, thank you to all of our city employees who adjusted their roles, maintained services and operations and were flexible and supportive as the transition process progressed. Each and every employee played a role, and for that, thank you! Another thank you goes to our consultant Marla Flentje of Austin Peters. Her expertise, attention to detail and professional assistance proved invaluable.

Anytime a transition is underway, there’s a great deal of uncertainty and opportunity for conflict. In our case, with the 9-member governing body, there was a singular purpose, a collaborative spirit and a respectful relationship that was only strengthened throughout the search process. Our local electeds were on the same page – wanting the very best for Augusta, which was demonstrated in the organized, thoughtful process that was especially beneficial in finding the best possible candidate for our community. To our City Council, thank you, it was a pleasure working with you all! Along with the Council, a special thanks goes to our interim attorney Cami Baker who did a wonderful job as she spent countless hours walking us through the legal process of hiring and contracting with a new city manager.

Finally, along with the entire Council, I’d like to thank Interim City Manager Josh Shaw for keeping the ‘ship afloat’ with his professional enthusiasm, hard work and leadership. Because of Josh, and all the staff at City Hall, the Council was able to focus on finding a new City Manager without worrying that Augustans would suffer from reduced services or a lack of organizational leadership. To the contrary – Josh provided the leadership that we all needed. Thank you, Josh!

In the end, we worked as the team we were intended to be – everyone making their own contribution to a happy end, or perhaps, to a happy beginning. So, here’s to the successful conclusion of the City Manager search process. Let the next phase begin – the preparation for Augusta’s next City Manager. This phase, one of new beginnings, will be the best yet. Gabe, your City awaits!

Kristey Williams is the mayor of Augusta and can be reached at 775-1440 and: kristeywilliams@yahoo.com.