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Kelly to handle city manager duties on interim basis
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Lameisha Kelly - photo by Submitted

RINCON -- City planner Lameisha Kelly will lead the day-to-day operations of the City of Rincon on an interim basis following the resignation of Wes Smith as city manager.

Mayor Ken Lee told the Effingham Herald about the appointment Friday morning. An emergency called meeting of the Rincon City Council is slated Friday at 3 p.m.

"We are very glad to be able to have her doing that," Lee said. "She is a very experienced staff member in the city and we are quite confident that she will be able to operate the city for us in this interim."

After being asked to do so, Smith resigned last week after spending 18 months on the job. Smith's "management style" was a point of difference, Lee said.

"He acted very well with the people and the public. They enjoyed him," Lee said.

Lee said the Rincon City Council will move swiftly as possible to select Smith's permanent replacement. He expects the process to take at least three months.

"We'll be advertising the position, hopefully, in the next week or so," Lee said. "We are formulating what we want the adverstisement to look like and what we are looking for."

Lee said it is difficult for the council to find the perfect candidate. Rincon has had six city managers in the last 12 years.

"We do know what we want but getting that is a challenge," he said. "The challenge is because of the size of our city. We'd love to be able to have a very experienced city manager but what we have found is that most of the people who serve as city managers and county administrators, particularly in smaller cities, is that there is no option for growth in the organization they are in. Typically, what happens is you have a city manager who grows and develops, then the logical move for them is to move to a larger city.

"With Rincon being a city of 11,000 people -- we are a fair-sized city but on the lower rungs of the ladder -- it is hard for us to reach the kind of people we would love to have and we recognize that. Yet, we are going to look for as much experience as we can and try to bring someone in who has that kind of experience. It's always about people skills and being able to manage the people you work with, work for and have the skills to work with the public effectively."