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Oxford police chief to serve as city manager

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

OXFORD -- The City of Oxford will operate under a new form of government beginning in July, but there won't be many new faces.

In April, Governor Nathan Deal signed several local government bills into law, including amending the city charter of Oxford to allow for a city manager, called House Bill 523.

The Oxford City Council decided Monday at its monthly meeting that Clark Miller will serve as the city manager beginning July 1. Miller was hired about three years ago as the city's police chief and since March has worked as the interim city clerk administrator after former clerk Carol Poole retired.

"He has a lot of administrative experience," said Oxford Mayor Jerry Roseberry. "The city approached him."

Miller worked for 12 years as an administrative aid for the DeKalb County Police Department, which had 1,000 officers and about 300 civilian employees, before coming to Oxford. He also has experience with purchasing, personnel and government management, Roseberry said.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge," Miller said Tuesday. "I've been getting the experience in (working as the city clerk)."

He said since his office will remain close to the police department, he will continue to make himself available as needed, but he is looking forward to handling the operations of the city, like budgeting, purchasing and special projects.

The city manager also is expected to handle such things as hiring and firing of employees, training of staff and maintaining services, among other duties, Roseberry has said.

Roseberry said several people have asked about the position, but the city felt this was the best route to take.

"This being a transition period for the city, it worked out perfectly," Roseberry said.

He added that Miller will serve as police chief until he takes over as city manager on July 1. At that time, the council will make a decision about filling the police chief position.

Current deputy clerk for the city, Lauran Willis, will move to the position of city clerk on July 1. The city clerk will remain full time and handle keeping city records, attending city meetings and understanding city laws, Roseberry has said.

Roseberry said the city manager position pays about $57,000 annually and the clerk position about $40,000 annually.

In January, Roseberry announced that Oxford would be seeking the new form of government because operations have become complicated, especially since Oxford is a city that owns its electric company in addition to water and others services that serve about 900 customers, paying millions of dollars. The city held public hearings on the matter in January.