Smith, Fuqua announce retirements

Two longtime top city officials announced Tuesday they will be retiring.Lonnie Smith told Big Spring City Council members, city employees and council audience he would be retiring as police chief March 30.“I have had great pleasure in serving this community as an officer and administrator for the past 35 years and as the chief for the past 15 years,” a very emotional Smith told the council and audience. “We have a great department and I'm proud to be a part of it. It has a strong foundation to continue to build on.”Smith's words were met by a standing ovation by those in attendance.Also announcing his retirement Tuesday was City Manager Gary Fuqua, who will bring his run at the municipal helm to a close at the end of 2013. Fuqua has been an employee of the city of Big Spring for 38 years.Fuqua assured the council his successor is more than capable to handle the many long-term projects the city currently has in the works.“I can assure you, you have no greater staff than the one you have here and now,” Fuqua said. “(Todd) Darden (assistant city manager) has been with these (long term) projects since their inception and he has the capability to see them through to the end.”