By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Jane Thomas has spent more than 30 years in dedicated service to the Newkirk community. A lifelong Newkirk resident, she has worked hard in various positions to make Newkirk a better place. That time has come to an end, however, as Thomas is retiring from the city of Newkirk to spend more time with family.
Thomas was born and raised in Newkirk, and it was a love for her community that encouraged her to apply for an open city position.
“There was an opening for deputy clerk when I started, and the pay was enough to take care of my kids,” she said. “It’s been worth it, to improve my hometown.”
Thomas began her role as deputy manager on June 1, 1987, eventually moving to city manager on Aug. 8, 2016, a position she has held since then.
In that time, she has also been city clerk, as well as interim city manager several times.
Thomas has overseen several projects as city manager. For one, she applied for a transportation grant from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, which the city received for the Newkirk Fitness Pathway. The White Plume lift station project is complete and the city’s water wells along the Arkansas River are currently being rehabilitated. Additionally, the city’s water system was overhauled across the community.
There are many other everyday tasks she undertakes as city manager.
“I manage the cash flow and budget,” she said. “I manage employees, talk to the public and make sure everything is operating like it should.”
Although she has greatly enjoyed her role as city manager, she feels it is the right time to step down.
“I’ve enjoyed it, for the most part, but it’s just time,” she said. “Thirty-three years is a long time to dedicate (to the community).”
Thomas will remain the the position through August to give the City Commission time to hire a new a city manager.
As for Thomas, she’s going to take it easy when she finally leaves.
“I’m going to enjoy my family, and my animals,” she said.