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Gibson appointed Stockbridge City Administrator

Photo by Jason A. Smith
Ray Gibson was appointed Stockbridge City Administrator during a special meeting of the Stockbridge City Council on May 2.

Photo by Jason A. Smith Ray Gibson was appointed Stockbridge City Administrator during a special meeting of the Stockbridge City Council on May 2.

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

The new administrator for the City of Stockbridge said he is looking forward to "helping the city grow," and encouraging participation from residents in their local government.

"I am excited about the opportunity, and I am up to the challenge that is ahead of me," said Ray Gibson. "We have many areas where we need improvement at the city."

Gibson, 39, was appointed to his new position May 2, during a special called meeting of the Stockbridge City Council, according to Mayor Lee Stuart.

"That's what we've needed, to have an actual city administrator," said Stuart. "Before, his hands were tied up. But since we've gotten everything now straightened out, I'm glad he's on board. He's got his hands full, trying to get things caught up here.

"It gives him official power," the mayor continued. "Before, he didn't really have any power. He was the assistant city manager, which was no such position. There's no ordinance. There was a contract, but you can give contracts to anybody that stands on their head and blows bubbles. It's not an official position in the city. He didn't have any official capacity to operate, so there was some resistance to it."

Stuart said Gibson, working under the mayor, will help to move the city forward.

"He's going to do a great job," said Stuart. "He's already doing it. In a week's time, we're already getting things straight."

Gibson was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He came to Georgia in 2002, and worked in the Henry County Planning & Zoning Department, from July 2002, to December of 2009, serving as the Director of Planning & Zoning for four of those years.

"Prior to working at Henry County, I worked in both the public and private sectors as a planner and project manager," Gibson said. "I have been serving in a similar type of position since the passing of [former Stockbridge City Manager] Ted Strickland in March of 2010 -- however, with limited powers on managing the daily operations of the city."

Gibson's role in city government, he said, has changed as a result of his new, official position. Stockbridge is a city of 25,636 residents and operates with a mayor and five councilmembers.

"Now, I can create a management team within the city," said Gibson. "We're going to start doing a strategic management plan, moving forward, for how we want the city to operate. Part of that is an [Atlanta Regional Commission] study, to get job descriptions, a personnel policy manual, and a bunch of other administrative items put together and adopted by the council, so we can operate effectively and efficiently."

The selection of Gibson as city administrator puts to rest a contentious chapter in Stockbridge's history, according to Mayor Stuart.

Gibson's appointment will be for the remainder of his original two-year contract which will expire on Dec. 31.

"At that point, the City Council will have to decide on what direction they want to head in as far as a city administrator," Gibson said.