Longtime Gadsden employees retire from rolls

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Submitted photo: Pictured, from left: Brian Harbison, Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford and Kathy Jackson pose for a photo at Gadsden City Hall, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. Harbison and Jackson have worked at the city for over 30 years and just recently retired.

By Kaitlin Hoskins, News Editor

Ahead of the Labor Day holiday, Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford and the Gadsden City Council honored two long-serving employees who are retiring.
Brian Harbison, Chief Building Official, and Kathy Shields Jackson, Fleet Maintenance Manager, have each been with the city for more than 30 years.
They were both recognized Tuesday, Aug. 29 at the regularly called meeting of the Gadsden City Council and given a pin with the city’s new seal on it.
“Brian, we want to thank you for everything you’ve done,” Ford said. “It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for everything you’ve done for the City of Gadsden.”
Ford then joked that Harbison was going to regret leaving the city.
“I appreciate you guys and the desire that you have to help your constituents,” Harbison said. “That means more to me than anything. I wish I could stay longer, but it’s time. I always heard you would know when it’s time. So, with a heavy I’m going to step away. The Lord’s got some things He wants us to do and we’re looking forward to the challenges ahead. I want to tell you guys I love you and I appreciate you. I will pray for you and I will see you from time to time.”
Harbison then received a standing ovation from members of the City Council and the audience.
“We all know Brian has had a tough job,” Ford said. “You have been responsible for helping other neighbors keep their neighborhoods clean. I know what you do and I know that you pray about the decisions that you make.”
After Ford’s closing remarks on Harbison, he called forward Jackson.
“Y’all, this is a big loss to the City of Gadsden,” Ford said about Jackson’s retirement. “I probably drive [Jackson] crazy. Kathy always answers the phone and has always helped us. She was very instrumental… she helped us go through what equipment is needed and she sometimes had to be the bad person and say, ‘that’s not what’s needed, this is what I think is important.’ Fleet is in a good position because of Kathy Jackson. Kathy, it’s been a joy to get to know you.”
Jackson then took a minute to say how much she’s enjoyed her time at the City of Gadsden.
“I started at the city right out of high school,” Jackson said. “I never dreamed I would be here this long. But I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve worked in five different departments over the years. I have a lot of friends who I consider family now. I appreciate everything the city has done for me.”
Jackson also received a standing ovation from the City Council and audience members.
Harbison and Jackson then had their photo taken with Ford before members of the council addressed the retiring employees.
“On behalf of a grateful city, thank you, Kathy and Brian, for your years of dedication to the city and your service,” Councilman Kent Back said. “It certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed. You’re leaving a void. You’re the kind of folks that aren’t replaceable. We’ll just move forward the best we can. God speed y’all. You’ll be in our prayers as we move forward. Please don’t be strangers at City Hall.”
At the end of the council meeting, members of the council spent their usual allotted time for remarks talking about Jackson and Harbison and thanking them for their 30 years of service to the City of Gadsden.

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