GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - New Gautier City Manager Sidney Runnels knows his new position has a history of conflict. He says he's ready to turn things around.
"I felt like my experience of roughly 29 years could offer something in trying to solve some of the problems that have come up in the past," he said.
Runnels comes to Gautier after a six month search for a city manager. During that time, Josh Danos served as interim city manager. The last person to permanently fill the position, Johnny Williams, was terminated in March.
Sidney Runnels stepped on board July 30 when he accepted the position, and says it's time for Gautier to look forward.
"We've got a lot to do, so I know my responsibility, and I know what I'm expected of, and that's how I"ll continue to work and to make things better."
Runnels is no stranger to city government. The former Grenada City Manager has worked in West Memphis, Arkansas, and also served as Mayor of Canton. City Councilman Hurley Ray Guillotte believes Runnels' diverse background will help him in Gautier.
"By working for three or four different cities, it really gives you a broader picture of city business and how to make a city better," Guillotte said.
He's only been at work one week, but his expectations for his tenure here in Gautier are already high. He can already envision Gautier as a successful residential community, with a developed commercial area along highway 90. He believes the city has great potential for both.
He may be ready to do a good job, but some Gautier citizens think that's easier said than done. Walter Malone, a retired Air Force sergeant, says Runnels' biggest challenge will be working with the same people who hired him.
"Just trying to work with the board, really. I think that's going to be a challenge," Malone said.
However, Malone also added that he thinks managing Gautier isn't impossible. "He's just gonna have to be firm and follow the rules and guidelines of being a good city manager," said Malone, "and doing his job the way he should, and I think we'll get a lot out of him."
Both the City Manager and City Councilman Hurley Ray Guillotte are ready to work together.
"I think it will be a good partnership," Runnels said of the City Council. "I've expressed to them in my interview, and I've expressed to them in the past since I've been here, that it takes a true partnership to make it happen."