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Posted: August 16, 2012 9:15 p.m.

The replacement

Covington is going to miss City Manager Steve Horton, who has guided the city through good times and bad for the past seven years.

But because of Horton's long-term planning - the city has known he was going to retire for more than a year - Covington has the chance to take its time in finding a replacement, including hiring an outside firm to head up the replacement search.

The Covington City Council has chosen The Mercer Group, an Atlanta firm, to help find the next top administrator for the city. We applaud the council for reaching out for help, because finding a new chief executive officer for a $120 million operation will not be an easy task.

As for Horton, the city will miss his 34 years of dedicated service to his hometown. Horton plans to retire Dec. 31 after fulfilling the promise to stay on that he made to fairly new Mayor Ronnie Johnston, who asked for help in navigating the waters of city government.

We hope the mayor has learned a lot, because he'll need to be part of the team helping a new city manager get acclimated to a community and keeping the vision of the city clear in the midst of change.

Replacing Horton won't be easy, but with his input and the expertise of trained professionals, we hope it's fairly smooth.

We wish city leadership and The Mercer Group every success in finding the right person to lead our city, and we wish for peaceful remaining months for Horton and an enjoyable retirement to follow.

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