Story provided by City of Stillwater
Longtime City Manager Norman McNickle was honored throughout the day Monday for his more than 46 years of service to the City of Stillwater. The day began with a police retirement walk-out ceremony followed by a reception at City Hall and ended with multiple accolades during the City Council meeting – including a unanimous vote to name Stillwater’s City Hall as the Norman McNickle Municipal Complex.
“This is in honor of his life’s work that spans more than four decades of dedicated service protecting our residents and patrons, developing a solid foundation for economic success, and enhanced quality of life,” Mayor Will Joyce said. “Norman is a trusted friend, longtime leader and innovator and his impact will last our lifetime – ensuring a more vibrant Stillwater of tomorrow.”
McNickle announced his retirement in February and agreed to stay through approval of the FY24 budget and to assist with leadership transition of his successor, as needed.
“It has been my honor to serve Stillwater and any accomplishments during my tenure are not mine alone. I’m fortunate to have served alongside truly phenomenal people – from those knee-deep in freezing water to fix a water line to the finance department ensuring we are good stewards of taxpayer dollars, to everyone else,” shared McNickle. “I am grateful to the current and previous Mayor and Councilors who have allowed me to serve. From here, I look forward to spending quality time with my wife Deb, our children and family, not to mention as much time outdoors as possible.”
During McNickle’s time of service, Stillwater has grown in population by approximately 20k residents. Most recently, he was instrumental in the passage of the first bond election in twenty years, to ensure a new fire station will be constructed to serve the ever-growing population. The last bond was passed by Stillwater’s voters was in 1999 for the new police building, a project for which McNickle oversaw the architectural design and construction.
“Since Norman became City Manager, he has maintained his reserve officer status in good standing. It is fitting that his last day of service is the first day of National Police Week,” Police Chief Jeff Watts said. “We will miss having him here with us every day to provide that depth of knowledge and leadership, but we are extremely happy for him as he embraces this next chapter. We are all better because of his lifelong contribution.”
City Manager McNickle began working for the City of Stillwater in October 1976 as a patrol officer with the Stillwater Police Department. He worked his way up the ranks in only 11 years, being promoted to Investigator, Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain before being named Chief of Police in 1987.
He was appointed Public Safety Director then became interim City Manager in 2015, before being named City Manager in 2016. During his term as Police Chief, McNickle was crucial to the Stillwater Police Department’s accreditation. Under his leadership in 2009, the City of Stillwater received the Oklahoma Municipal League’s Don Rider Award for transparency in municipal government.
“We are grateful to have worked alongside Norman and we wish him and his family the best. He will finally have the opportunity to put his phone on silent and not charged with the weight of the City’s infrastructure and other emergencies. He has more than earned this time in his life,” Joyce said.
Councilors are working with an outside firm on the nationwide search to fill the position. Assistant City Manager Brady Moore will serve as interim until the new City Manager is named.