EAST PRAIRIE -- After serving the city of East Prairie for nearly 20 years in a variety of positions, Lonnie Thurmond is now taking the helm as city administrator.
Thurmond was officially appointed to the position by the Board of Aldermen during their regular meeting Aug. 10. A letter from East Prairie Mayor Gene Ditto regarding the board's decision appears on the editorial page of today's Standard Democrat.
"With my familiarity with the city government, I became the prime candidate to fill those duties," Thurmond said.
Thurmond's service to the city began in 1989 when he became an alderman, a position he held until he became the city's mayor in 1993.
When the former city administrator, the late Kathie Simpkins, became ill, Thurmond resigned as mayor to become employed by the city as its community developer.
"Since I became employed, I worked side-by-side with Ms. Simpkins on the day-to-day operations," Thurmond said. "She continued to be the city administrator but there were times she wasn't able to be here. During those times, those duties would be my responsibility, so I'm really familiar with the day-to-day business."
Before becoming the city administrator, Thurmond had several other duties such as code enforcement, property maintenance, building inspections, preparing grant applications, managing grants and working with local businesses on the revolving loan fund.
"There were several day-to-day duties that included those things along with managing things in the absence of Ms. Simpkins," he said.
Thurmond said he is now ready to take on the challenges of being the city's administrator.
"I want to be able to make some priorities that have not been priorities before. I'm working on that now," he said. "We're going to make a strong effort of bringing the city to a better standard of living."
One of the goals is getting rid of dilapidated buildings. The city is presently looking for a police officer to hire as a code enforcement officer.
"Hopefully will have someone hired in the next 30 days," Thurmond said.
Thurmond said Simpkins "was one of the best administrators of any business, let alone a city" and that he is still settling in to his new position.
"It's going to take me a few days," Thurmond said. "Organization will be one of the biggest things I'm undertaking in the next few days. I'm just in the preparing stages but there's a lot of things I want to see changed and made better for everybody."