Garner Cleveland Record

Hodges appointed assistant town manager

John Hodges
John Hodges

The town of Garner has appointed John Hodges, executive director of the Garner Revitalization Association, to serve as assistant town manager for development services, starting Nov. 10.

He will join town manager Hardin Watkins and assistant town manager for operations Rodney Dickerson in his new position that was created through the 2014-15 fiscal year budget.

Adding a third member to the leadership team is a a step in reshaping the town manager’s office.

“I believe that John will bring an impressive amount of enthusiasm, ability to get things done and knowledge of the intricacies of the Garner community to our leadership team,” Watkins said.

Hodges was appointed executive director of Garner revitalization in 2007. During his time there, he headed up the Main Street program, the Historic Downtown Garner Plan and assisted the Board of Directors in revitalizing the downtown area.

Other projects include his leadership in the National Main Street Center accreditation, the 2013 All-America City campaign, the acquisition of 25 properties downtown, coordinating events like the food truck rodeo and pushing for downtown improvements in the 2013 bond referendum, among others.

Hodges says he is honored to be named to the position, where he will guide 11 town departments and enact the strategic action plan.

He is also proud of his work with the GRA.

“I am especially proud of the community support for our mission that has been demonstrated through participation in our events, investments made in the district and support for the downtown redevelopment bonds,” Hodges said.

Previously, Hodges worked in information technology and software solutions corporate sales management for 15 years and operated a family business for nine years.

“John has very high work ethics, a passion for town, and does a very good job in bringing everyone together,” said GRA board member Maagdy Saad. “He has the personality to make people comfortable, participate and be part of the town. The town has made a very, very smart decision in hiring him.”

New departmental structure

In his new position, Hodges will oversee the planning, engineering, economic development and inspections departments, including construction project management. He will also work as liason to the GRA, the Garner Economic Development Corporation and the Garner Chamber of Commerce.

Under the new plan, Dickerson will be responsible for the parks, recreation and cultural resources, public works and information technology departments. He will be responsible for safety, risk management and town committees among others.

Watkins will directly manage the police, human resources and finance departments, as well as the Town Clerk’s office, communications manager, budget and special projects manager and the assistant town managers.

Watkins will mediate with the town council, the Mayor, the town attorney and N.C. League of Municipalities and oversee the budget, internal audit and special projects.

Hodges will assist the GRA to appoint a new downtown manager. The town is also looking to hire an economic development director.

“What I’ve been doing for the town has been a bit limited geographically, and now I’m looking forward to broaden what I do on a regular basis in the community,” he said.