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Steve Jones and Anita Archie have left their posts at the city for other jobs. Jones was director of general services. Archie was chief of staff.
Andrew Yawn / Advertiser

Two prominent members of Mayor Todd Strange’s cabinet are moving on from city government.

Strange announced the resignation of his chief of staff, Anita Archie, and director of general services, Steve Jones, Friday morning at a Chamber of Commerce meeting.

“It’s a great compliment for other organizations to come want to get some of your best,” Strange said. “For Anita, she’s been with us five years. I’ve known her a long time. She’s done excellent work. … Steve’s been a valuable asset to our city for so many years. That’s what you’ll miss.”

Archie will move on to a role as executive counsel/deputy director at the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). Jones has been hired as a consultant for a Dallas-based energy management consulting firm after working for the city for 25 years. Both will remain in Montgomery.

“There’s not a job in the world that will get me out of Montgomery, Alabama,” Jones said.

Jones’ path to the mayor’s cabinet is a lesson in work ethic. After 23 years of service and multiple tours of the Middle East with the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard, Jones moved up from a laborer in the city’s engineering department to a do-all cabinet position in charge of building maintenance, fleet management, city parking improvements and special projects.

Recently he pushed the installation of credit card parking meters downtown, and as chairman of the USS Montgomery Commissioning Committee, Jones was integral to the organization of the commissioning ceremony. He also tracked down the teak wood from the original USS Montgomery that now holds that ship’s bell in City Hall.

On a regular day, however, Jones said he just enjoyed trying to solve problems for citizens of Montgomery.

“The USS Montgomery, the implementation of Hyundai fleet management program, what we’ve done with downtown and Maxwell, all those things are great, but at the end of the day when someone calls the mayor’s office with a problem that’s, to me, the best thing I get to do,” Jones said. “When you’re a civil servant and get to work with the public, there’s not a whole lot that’s more rewarding than that.”

For Archie, her new job with ADECA is a return to the past in more ways than one.

Archie’s role as chief of staff was the second time she ever worked for Strange after the two worked at the Alabama Development Office (ADO) together.

“It’s rare that an employee gets the opportunity to work with your previous boss twice,” Archie said. “He is a great boss and a great leader for the community. He cares about the city, and what I appreciate best about him is when he makes a decision he asks for advice and input. Although we disagree on certain things he will always hear you out. That ‘s what I’ll miss more than anything is working with him and the wonderful people of Montgomery.”

Now Archie gets to work for a familiar face for the second time. Archie worked with ADECA boss Kenneth Boswell at ADO as well. Boswell, the former mayor of Enterprise, came calling after he was appointed to head ADECA by Gov. Kay Ivey.

Archie said she respects Boswell for his leadership after the 2007 Enterprise tornadoes and said working with him again is “like coming home.” Especially because her new office is literally beneath the floor of her old ADO office.

“It’s directly below,” she said with a laugh. “It’s insane.”

Both Archie and Jones named the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march as one of their proudest moments. Archie said she’s also proud of the city’s recent efforts to fight blight, and Jones, a lifelong Montgomery man who has worked for the past four mayors, said working for Strange was “one of the most humbling and honoring things I’ve ever gotten to do.”

Now moving into the private sector, Jones had one last message for the citizens of the city he moved to when he was 6 months old.

“Everybody doesn’t agree with what the government is doing. Every call we take, you can’t do what they’re asking.The ultimate goal is to make somebody happy and do what they’re asking, and sometimes you can’t do both,” Jones said. “At the end of the day, the 2,500 people who work for the city are truly working for the people of Montgomery. The tax money is going to the right people, and it’s really humbling to be a part of an organization like that.”

Director of Development Mac McLeod is serving as acting chief of staff until a replacement is found. Strange said people are already inquiring about the vacancies, but he does not expect to fill either until two or three months from now.