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Johnsa Retires as City Manager in Lilburn

After 14 years with the City of Lilburn, City Manager Bill Johnsa has decided to retire.

Lilburn City Manager Bill Johnsa, center, has announced that he will be retiring from his position as of May 26, 2022.  At its Monday, February 14 meeting, the City Council approved the appointment of Assistant City Manager Jenny Payne-Simpkins as the new city manager effective in May.  Also shown are Mrs. Payne-Simpkins and Mayor Tim Dunn. (Gwinnett Citizen photo by Randy Louis Cox)

The announcement was made by Mayor Tim Dunn at the City Council meeting on Monday, February 14.  The Council also unanimously approved the appointment of Assistant City Manager Jenny Payne-Simpkins to succeed Johnsa when he retires on May 26, 2022, and the implementation of a transition plan for the position.

A resident of Flowery Branch, Johnsa said that he’s not going to be saying goodbye to Liburn.  “I’ll be working part-time on Capital Projects,” he said after the meeting, pointing out the recently developed Main Street/Railroad Streetscape Project as an example. 

In his years with the city, there were many newsworthy events, like construction of a mosque and the removal of a massive tire dump.  “We were able to strike a balance with the mosque by eliminating the cemetery,” he said.

With the tire dispersal, Johnsa’s staff came up with the idea of applying to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to fund the removal of approximately 3,000 tires illegally dumped behind a shopping center in Lilburn.  The city became the first one in Gwinnett County to utilize this program.

Asked what he will do for fun when he leaves, Johnsa said, “I want to spend time with my wife watching TV.”  He also likes to play golf.

Johnsa was graduated from North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, and Mercer University where he was a pitcher on the varsity baseball team.  He has 30 years’ experience in government work, including juvenile probation officer in Gwinnett County, and court administrator for Hall and Dawson counties.

Johnsa also was a graduate of the Academy of Economic Development at the University of Georgia. 

“Mr. Johnsa has played a key role in revitalization plans for the City of Lilburn,” said Mayor Dunn.

Johnsa and his wife, Lisa, have two sons, Patrick and Mitchell.

Mrs. Payne-Simpkins has been assistant city manager for three years, and will become one of the first female city managers in Gwinnett County.

In other council business, signage standards for the Town Center Overlay District were addressed.  By approval of the body, only LED warm (yellow white) electronic signs will be allowed, while internally lit, backlit or cool (white blue) signs are prohibited.

Upcoming meetings in the city include the Downtown Development Authority, February 16, 6:30 p.m. at city hall, and Zoning Board of Appeals , February 23, 7 p.m., also at city hall.