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Gainesvilles Public Works Director Adrian Niles plans to retire
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Listen to Gainesville City Council members' comments about Niles’ work with the city and his decision to retire.

Gainesville’s Public Works Director Adrian Niles plans to retire from his post in August to pursue a higher calling.

After 25 years and six months in various city departments, Niles will leave the city in two months to become a full-time pastor at Mount Enon Baptist Church in Monroe. Niles has been in the church for 14 years, and currently serves as its part-time pastor.

"I’ve got the opportunity of going into it full time, so I’m going to retire," Niles said.

Niles told City Manager Bryan Shuler of his decision to leave his post with the city about two weeks ago. Shuler said he knew the decision was a long time coming.

"It’s something I’ve been praying for for about five years now; actually it’s an answered prayer," Niles said Friday.

Before becoming the city’s Public Works director two and a half years ago, Niles was an employee of the city’s fire and police departments; he was the superintendent of the department’s Solid Waste division and he served as the department’s assistant director and interim director.

The city posted an advertisement for a new Public Works director on its Web site Friday morning. Shuler said the city will advertise for the job through various other Web sites.

Niles’ is a position that will be difficult to fill because of the amount of responsibility a Public Works director has, Shuler said. In his current capacity, Niles oversees the city’s street maintenance, traffic engineering and the upkeep of city buildings and property as well as the Alta Vista Cemetery and Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport.

"More so than any other department in the city, (Public Works) touches citizens literally every day," Shuler said.

Shuler said it will be difficult to find another director who communicates with people as well as Niles and is as technically knowledgeable about the various duties of the department.

"He’s done an excellent job on all of his positions ... I certainly wish him the best in (the future) even though we’ll all miss him," Shuler said.

City Council members, attending a conference in Savannah this weekend, echoed Shuler’s sentiments.

Mayor Myrtle Figueras said she was proud of Niles’ decision, but reluctant to see him leave the city.

"We’ll miss Adrian, but then we want him to experience everything that he can experience in life," Figueras said. "I thank God that we had him for as long as we did."

Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Bruner said Niles always has been someone she could depend on to take care of residents’ concerns."He was just so good with people," Bruner said.

Councilman George Wangemann, also a minister, called Niles a "model and stellar employee with the city" as well as a personal friend and said he understood Niles’ urge to "move on to his higher calling in life."

"I think all of his life he’s been waiting to move on to his higher calling in life... that opportunity finally came to him," Wangemann said. "I can’t say I blame him for taking that opportunity."

Councilman Bob Hamrick, who has been a City Council member during all of Niles’ tenure with the city, watched as Niles initiated a master plan for city sidewalks and improved traffic flow throughout the city.

"I hate to see him leave the city," Hamrick said.

Niles will leave a big set of shoes to fill, Councilman Danny Dunagan said.

"We’ll look inside and outside and try to find the ones to fill those shoes. It’s not going to be easy, but we must go on so the saying goes," Dunagan said.

Niles called moving on "bittersweet." In the past, when he thought about retirement, Niles said he looked forward to it.

"Now that I’m there, and have this great opportunity, it turns out that it’s bittersweet," Niles said.

Becoming a full-time pastor is no doubt a sweet opportunity for Niles, now that he says the "church is ready for a full-time pastor."

But "... it’s bitter because of the relationships that we’ve formed and I believe that’s what I’ll miss most, you know, the relationships with fellow employees and relationships with city residents."