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Padgett earns permanent post as Gainesville city manager

POSTED: January 7, 2009 12:09 a.m.

Padgett named Gainesville city manager

Watch Kip Padgett's acceptance speech after being named as Gainesville's city manager. Also, watch Stacey Dickson, president of the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau, discuss why a hike in the hotel tax would...

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Kip Padgett has been appointed city manager for Gainesville after filliing the post on an interim basis for the past two months.

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After nearly two months without one, Gainesville officially has a city manager.

Kip Padgett dropped the "interim" label from his title Tuesday when the City Council appointed him the city’s official manager.

Padgett’s appointment to the post came with a long list of other appointments at the City Council’s first meeting of the year — a meeting usually reserved for appointments and other organizational measures, such as establishing a schedule for council meetings.

"I am both honored and humbled by your confidence in me," Padgett said. "I just want to assure that as your city manager we as a city will continue to meet the expectations you and our citizens have placed before us. ... We’ve got a lot of challenges, and we also have a lot of opportunities ahead of us; and I’m excited about those."

Padgett’s appointment is for one year.

Padgett spent the past two months at the city’s helm on an interim basis after former City Manager Bryan Shuler resigned in November.

Shuler, an 11-year city employee, tendered his resignation Nov. 13, just days after he was placed on administrative leave while the city conducted an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.

Padgett first came to the city in 2002 as the city’s director of planning and development and was named assistant city manager in May 2007. Prior to coming to Gainesville, he worked in planning departments for Athens-Clarke County and Dawson County as well as the Georgia Department of Transportation, according to the city’s Web site.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia and a masters of science degree in administration from Georgia College and State University, according to the city’s Web site.

In addition to making annual appointments, City Council also voted Tuesday to keep Gainesville’s 6 percent hotel tax at that level. Council members had considered an increase in the hotel-motel tax to as much as 8 percent.

The city’s previous ordinance only charged hotel guests the 6 percent tax for the first 10 days of their stay in a Gainesville hotel, but recent changes in state law allowed the city to increase the tax amount and extend the time of taxation.

After hearing the opposition of hotel owners from Stacey Dickson, president of the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau, the council decided against the tax increase.

Dickson told the council that 68 percent of those who responded to a survey about the proposed tax increase opposed the measure. Raising the tax would give them a competitive disadvantage to other cities, she said.

With the current economic situation in mind, most hotel managers supported "maintaining things as they are right now," Dickson said.

The council voted to extend the time period the tax is charged to hotel guests who stay in Gainesville hotels for 30 days, however. Hotel guests who have extended stays in in-city hotels do not have to pay the 6 percent tax after 30 days. Dickson said hotel managers did not have a problem with extending the time period for the tax.



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