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Mayor Girtz and Commission Name Niki Jones Acting Manager

Deputy Manager Niki Jones will serve as acting Athens-Clarke County manager while Mayor Kelly Girtz conducts a search for a new manager to replace Blaine Williams, who shocked many by announcing his resignation earlier this month.

The ACC Commission unanimously approved Girtz’s nomination of Jones at a called meeting Friday.

“I’m happy to have you step forward at this junction,” Commissioner Carol Myers told Jones. “That gives me more confidence as we move forward.”

Myers was one of four commissioners who seemed distraught about Williams’ departure at the June 5 commission meeting. Others said nothing—including Commissioner Ovita Thornton, who walked out while Williams was speaking about his decision to leave.

“He comes with so much knowledge and so much information, and has done a great job communicating with the commission,” Thornton said of Jones.

Williams hired Jones three years ago as an assistant manager and recently promoted him to deputy manager. Prior to that, Jones worked in planning, housing and economic development for city governments in North Carolina. He has a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning and a master’s degree in public administration from East Carolina University.

Girtz has said he hopes to name a new manager sometime around the end of the year. An official timeline will be forthcoming near the end of the month, he told commissioners on Friday.