Hamilton official becomes new Trenton city manager after long, frustrating search

After a monthslong serach that caused frustrations and multiple near-finishes, Trenton has hired its new city manager.

Marcos Nichols, director of Hamilton’s civil service and personnel department, signed his $105,000 contract with city council and is set to start June 10.

He will receive a $300 monthly car allowance and 40 hours of vacation time this year. The contract doesn’t have a specific requirement that Nichols move to the city, but there is a residency provision in the event he is fired. He would receive three months severance pay if he has moved to the city but nothing if he still lives in Hamilton.

The residency requirement in the city’s charter is part of the reason it took nine months to find a new manager, but Nichols said the point is moot because he will be moving.

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“There is a reason why I have a passion for local government and not state or federal,” he said. “Being a city manager, someone can walk right down the street or if you’re going grocery shopping you can see the residents that you’re decisions have an impact on. I think that’s what brings value.”

Nichols hasn’t been a city manager before, but Mayor Calvin Woodrey said he is definitely qualified for the job.

“Mr. Nichols is a very motivated individual who has been working toward becoming a city manager through his studies to receive his Master’s in Public Administration and working his way up to an administrative position with the city of Hamilton,” Woodrey said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know him and having a good working relationship with him.”

Woodrey told the Journal-News at the outset of the search that economic development was key for him. Nichols said he plans to be very deliberate in this area with the ultimate goal of “improving the quality of life in the community.”

“I want to get in the door and start having conversations with council and get their direction, as well as start working with local business owners and the residents and get the feedback from the community,” Nichols said. “I don’t have any intention of going in guns blazing, I want to get a feel for the community and where they see the community going.”

Nichols, 33 is married to Teresa, he has two of his own children Antonio, 12 and Zoey, 8 and two step sons, Tradd, 22 and Dayne, 19. He loves playing with his kids, fishing and reading.

Nichols was up against Deanna Barbour with the Oxford Parks and Recreation in the final round of candidates.

The path to replacing John Jones, who left in August to become city manager in Hamilton County’s Springdale, has been challenging, largely because of the city’s residency requirement — a city charter rule that is illegal in the state but enforceable through employment contracts.

The council previously offered the job to Amy Young, Trenton branch manager for the MidPointe Library System in December. The day after she accepted, she learned her husband was being transferred out of state.

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Patrick Ross, the Reading city manager, accepted the position in early February but then reconsidered, telling the Journal-News he couldn’t be “selfish” and relocate his family.

The council liked two other candidates — Jennifer Patterson, Monroe’s assistant to the city manager for economic development, and Milford’s City Manager Michael Doss — but they dropped out because they didn’t want to move.

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