Originally created 09/05/97

City management position still open



AIKEN -- Mounds of cardboard boxes and reams of paper occupied much of the space in Frances Thomas' office Thursday - her last day as assistant city manager.

A six-year career ended for Ms. Thomas just as plans at Aiken Municipal Airport was coming to fruition and nearly three months after Aiken was named an All-America city.

Officials haven't found a replacement for Ms. Thomas, but 120 applications - many from local residents - are stacked atop City Manager Steve Thompson's desk for review.

The number of local applicants may be a plus for the city, said personnel Director Stanley Quarles, who has reviewed the applications.

"We're obviously pleased with the local response," he said. "But the person who will be hired must have an extensive background in this career area, must be creative, must be able to promote the city and must have a positive attitude."

Whoever receives the job will make an annual base salary of $45,000 to $65,000. The decision will rest with Mr. Thompson, who said a replacement will be found within the month.

Ms. Thomas announced her resignation in early July. Next week, she will move to Rock Hill, where she plans to go into private business.

In Aiken, Ms. Thomas, 39, helped develop Aviation Business Park near the airport.

She was involved in bringing a corporate hangar to the airport and also with the cleanup of the nearby Aiken Youth Correctional Facility.

With her guidance, an aviation-related business recently located at the airport - an area that hadn't seen growth in nearly 30 years.