Last updated: February 26. 2014 10:12AM - 2700 Views
By - aholliday@civitasmedia.com

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HAZARD—The City of Hazard will have a new city manager as of March 1, after the Hazard City Commission voted this week to hire the Hazard Independent School Board Chairman to the position.

Grady Varney, a long-time Hazard resident, current Hazard Housing Authority projects manager, previous chairman of the city’s Planning and Zoning Board, and current chairman of the Hazard Board of Education, was officially hired as Hazard city manager Friday morning during an executive session of a special called commissioner’s meeting.

“Mr. Varney brings with him a variety of technical and administrative experience to the city,” read a press release from the City of Hazard on Friday. “His offer of employment is conditioned upon his satisfaction of the usual and customary requirements for employment by the city and will be probational for the next 12 months.”

Sandra Johnson, superintendent of the Hazard Independent School District, explained that since Varney had taken a position as a city official he would no longer be able to sit as school board chairman.

“This is from the attorney general … a city officer may not serve as a county officer, city officer of another city, or city employee,” she said. “City manager is one of those positions.”

Johnson said she expects that Varney will turn in a letter of resignation prior to March 1, though he had not done so as of Tuesday afternoon.

“Temporarily it (his position on the board) would be filled by an appointment by the commissioner’s office, and there’s a process,” Johnson said, adding that any hopefuls would apply through the Kentucky Education Commissioner’s office for the position.

Johnson said that based on past experience with filling board vacancies that come about from resignations, it can be a slow process, sometimes lasting months.

“In that interim, Aster Sizemore is the vice-chair, so he would step into that position,” Johnson said.

Varney’s move to city manager came as a bit of a surprise to the board, Johnson said, because he had not made it publicly known he would be seeking that job.

Varney did not return calls made by the Herald before press time.

Former City Manager Carlos Combs, who announced his resignation from the position in January, was also hired to a new position on Friday. Effective March 1, Combs will be taking on the role of assistant city manager.

Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.

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