TUSCUMBIA — Charles King said he and his wife always wanted to return to the Shoals, and a shakeup of Colbert County department heads has provided him that opportunity.
Assistant Jeremy Robison's promotion to the county engineer's position following the pending retirement of John Bedford in October opened the assistant's position, which King will fill starting next month.
"Of all the candidates to apply, he was number one without a doubt with his experience," Bedford said.
King is a native of Leighton who went to school in Muscle Shoals. He received his engineering degree from Auburn University in 2002. He is currently the assistant county engineer in Elmore County.
Bedford said he and Robison interviewed candidates, but Robison said he made the final decision to hire King.
"I'm very excited to have him coming in," Robison said. "I think he will be a great asset to the county. He has over 14 years experience working in county and city government with over 10 years at Elmore County."
King, 40, said he started working for the Elmore County Highway Department in 2005, then left in 2009 to become the Scottsboro city engineer, a position he held before returning to Elmore County in 2013.
"Obviously, our long-term goals have been to move back to the Shoals, either career-wise or in retirement," King said. "We both have families that are still in the area."
He and his wife, Leah, have two daughters, ages 6 and 9.
Bedford, Robison and King said they know each other and have interacted through the Association of County Engineers of Alabama.
"I've always said Colbert County may not be one of the biggest counties by population, but we have as much or more to offer our residents as the larger counties do," Robison said.
"We are involved in the construction of storm shelters and boat ramps, and we also help out with the two county parks," he said. "So having someone come in from a similar county that has seen a lot of these things, and has the experience to step right into the role, is going to be very helpful."
The Colbert County Road Department also manages the county's water system, but Robison said that was not a requirement of the assistant's job. King said he has limited experience with water systems.
"I will take the lead in running the water department until he can get up to speed on that operation," Robison said. "Luckily, we have some great employees at the water department, so I think that transition is going to go fine."
Bedford is not scheduled to retire until the end of October and will be able to work with King during his first month with the county, Robison said.