Vidalia city manager leaving job

Published 12:06am Tuesday, September 18, 2012

VIDALIA — After six years working as the city planner for the City of Vidalia, Ken Walker will put in his last day today to pursue an opportunity across the country in Washington.

The decision to depart from the city on the move, Walker said, was made two weeks ago and based on family reasons.

“My whole life has been based upon my family and their needs, and that’s no longer needed here,” Walker said. “This is one of the most wonderful places in the South, but I’m moving to be closer to my brother.”

Working as a certified accountant for Silas Simmons before being hired as city manager in 2007, Walker said he chose the Miss-Lou because it was the closest place to Vicksburg that he could find a good job.

Walker was born in Memphis, Tenn., but was raised in Vicksburg, which was also where his father, Dr. Gene Walker, was living when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“For the first two years I was here, I commuted to Vicksburg almost every day to take care of him,” Walker said. “Once I was able to arrange more help for him and became more involved in the community, those visits lessened, and I chose to stay.”

And it wasn’t until his father took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago, Walker said, that the decision to move closer to his brother became clear.

“My father is no longer with me mentally, and he no longer needs my care,” Walker said. “I have no kids of my own, so my brother is my family right now.

“I’ve loved living in Vidalia, but this is strictly a family issue.”

The City of Sultan, Wash., is where Walker will soon call home soon, serving as the city planner.

“It’s a city very similar to Vidalia as far as population and being on the river,” Walker said. “I’m excited to pursue a new opportunity.”

Walker’s decision to leave Vidalia was one that Mayor Hyram Copeland said he hated to see, but also one he understood.

“We’ve had a lot of projects that have taken place in six years, the new municipal complex and recreation complex, and others we’re currently working on that Ken has been a huge part of,” Copeland said. “I hate to see him leave, but I understand the reasons he’s leaving.”

Leaving along with Walker, Copeland said, will be the position of city manager, which will be divided between several employees that worked under Walker.

“We’re going to split up the work Ken did and handle everything in-house through several of our staff,” Copeland said. “Ken trained these people to know everything he knew, so we’re going to move forward.

“But I am going to miss working with him.”

  • Anonymous

    Are any of those employees CPAs?  Copeland forgot to mention that.

  • khakirat

    Sounds to me this Mr. Walker wants to get far away from all the mess of layoffs and accounting in Vidalia and moving to Washington puts a few miles between him and a plus having a job as well!!!

  • Big

    Well wish him luck most us dont know how it is to live without family to help, We take it for granted.  As you get older you loose alot of friends along the way.  You just stop and talk to people and hope they take the time out to talk back because they have nobody to go home to to talk with.  It was his choice or maybe it was gods choice for not blessing him with children but either way Put yourself in his shoes and really think about things.  Would you want a family member to help assist with your care if all you had was a brother left.   It Is sad to think and look at the whole picture but their are alot of people whom have no family or somebody they can call on for help.  Thank god for the services the elderly are able to get this day and time through Medicare that have  not been cut out and Medicaid.  Sometimes these people are all they see and talk to in Months.  example Home Health , Hospice Services, sitter services, house cleaning, Etc.    Think about his situation before you judge.

  • Anonymous

    That’s exactly what happened.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    An educated accountant does not have to be a CPA to run the day to day and yearly finances of a company or municipality.  A CPA is needed for auditing and tax purposes definitely.

  • Billy Dunnaway

    Will his husband be joining him in Washington also?