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Athens-Clarke names new assistant county manager

Niki Jones

A career civil servant with experience in a wide facet of government operations has been selected to be an assistant manager for Athens-Clarke County.

According to a Tuesday morning county media release, County Manager Blaine Williams named Niki Jones as one of his two assistant managers, joining Josh Edwards and replacing Deborah Lonon, who left the manager’s office in November to take a position in the Atlanta government.

Jones, who is set to begin in his new position on June 14, has over 17 years of experience with local governments in North Carolina and currently serves as the planning director for Wendell, N.C. Prior to his time with Wendell, Jones worked for five years with the Raleigh, N.C., first with the Office of Economic Development as the senior business assistance manager and later as assistant director of the Housing and Neighborhoods Department. He also worked with the cities of Greenville and Durham in North Carolina in the areas of planning, public works, and code enforcement.

“Niki will be a tremendous asset to the manager’s office, our departments, and the community due to his broad experience in local government,” Williams said. “His knowledge of planning and zoning, economic development, affordable housing, small business support, community development, and revitalization efforts will support important work in critical areas to improve Athens-Clarke County.”

During his career in Raleigh, Jones oversaw the City’s Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Program (MWBE), provided policy guidance and direction related to affordable housing, administered federal funding for neighborhood improvement and community development initiatives, and managed gap financing for tax credit developments.

“I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to serve the residents of Athens-Clarke County,” says Jones. “I look forward to working on meaningful projects and initiatives that will advance our community.”

In his current role, Jones is responsible for overall land use planning, development services, and the building permit process. He also oversees state and federal transportation funds for roadway and pedestrian projects.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning and a Master of Public Administration from East Carolina University. Jones also graduated from the University of North Carolina’s Public Executive Leadership Academy. Jones is a Certified Planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

Born in Germany and raised overseas, Jones spent his early childhood on military bases where his father served in the Air Force. He and his wife Abigail have a young daughter.

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