Sugar Hill city manager to retire

Bob Hail

Bob Hail

SUGAR HILL — As the northern Gwinnett city celebrates its 75th anniversary, leaders will begin a search for Sugar Hill’s seventh city manager.

Bob Hail, a former military man who has held the position since 2001, announced Thursday that he will step down next year.

Taking over at a time when many were calling for the city to be dissolved, Hail is credited with purchasing natural gas futures, keeping rates low for residents, overseeing the construction of the new City Hall complex and other downtown features and developing Gary Pirkle Park. He also takes pride in keeping the city debt-free during a tenure that saw the size of the government staff double to 60.

“Bob Hail has been a very strong leader, only the sixth city manager in the city’s great 75-year history, and one who has managed the city through both challenging times and periods of growth,” said Mayor Gary Pirkle, who is retiring himself at the end of the year. “The City Council, residents, and myself are all grateful for his innumerable contributions to the city and his distinguished tenure as city manager over the past 13 years.”

Hail, who retired as a colonel in the Air Force before entering the government sector, plans to retire at the end of June 2014, allowing the city an eight month transition period.

“I’ve been privileged to lead one of the world’s greatest cities in Gwinnett County and in Georgia,” Hail said. “After almost 13 years with the city it’s time to move on and transfer Sugar Hill’s helm to a new generation of leadership. I look forward to working with the mayor, City Council and staff during the eight-month transition period, and to being available as an adviser to the city after retiring as city manager.”

Sugar Hill, which is dubbed the “Recreation City,” was named the third best place to raise a family by Nerd Wallet earlier this year. With a population of nearly 20,000, it is the fourth largest city in Gwinnett.