The Altus City Council appointed the new Assistant City Manager as Acting City Manager during their special meeting on Thursday, July 24, during the interim until the City Council hires a new City Manager.
During the meeting, Council voted and declared a vacancy in the position of City Manager, effective August 15, due to the resignation of City Manager Elizabeth Gray. Gray accepted a position as City Manager of Sand Springs.
Following the vote, Councilman Michael Beason asked, “Is there anything in our Policies and Procedures in the Charter which can prohibit us from acting on that vacancy now?” After further clarification, Beason asked City Attorney Catherine Coke if it was legal to declare the position as vacant before the effective resignation date of Aug. 15.
Councilman Rick Steen commented, “It’s proper planning. You’ve got her resignation. We’re going to have to find a new City manager. Yeah, we could wait until the 15th. That puts us two more weeks behind the 8-ball. Move forward, you know. That’s just good planning.”
Beason then stated, “I’m not saying that’s not good planning, but for the record, I would like to have the advice of my City Attorney.”
City Attorney Coke said, “I don’t think there is anything in the state law or the charter that would prohibit it. I don’t have a photographic memory of the new personnel manual. I would assume the H.R. manager might have an opinion on that or insight, but my opinion is that it’s okay.”
The City Council then entered into executive session to discuss the hiring of an individual salaried public officer or employee, the City Manager, and also discussed the appointment of and Acting City Manager.
In open session Council voted to solicit a recruitment agency to contract with the City for the purpose of recruiting a City Manager. They then voted to appoint Greg Buckley, the Assistant City Manager, as Acting City Manager effective Aug. 16, until a new City Manager is hired.
Buckley has served in municipal government for over 23 years in both small and large communities from Oklahoma, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. He was Assistant City Manager in Lawton for 5 years and most recently was the City Manager for Muskogee for 5 years. Buckley has his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Public Administration.
“I like the community,” Buckley said. “It’s a good community and were looking to do good things. Elizabeth exiting is sad for the community but its a good opportunity for her to move on professionally. She’s done a lot of good things to set the stage for whoever comes in as the next manager to really continue to build Altus, the community and organization. I’m looking forward to be able to follow those positive steps.”