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Van Norman honored for 30 years of service with Vicksburg

When he came to work for the city of Vicksburg in 1990, Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman never thought he would be with the city very long.

“I wasn’t sure I would be here two weeks,” he said. “I wasn’t very optimistic.”

Tuesday, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen honored him on his 30th anniversary with the city.

Van Norman came to the city after working with Smith and Sanders, a large engineering firm in Jackson with an office in Vicksburg.

“When I got out of school, I went to work for them in Vicksburg,” he said. “I’ve been in Vicksburg doing this since 1977.”

When Vicksburg went through annexation in 1990, then-Mayor Robert Walker asked Van Norman to come work for the city as city engineer.

“He knew I’d been doing construction work all over town and they were getting ready to do all this annexation work and he wanted me in here to watch over it,” Van Norman said. He’s been watching over it ever since.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. called Van Norman “a unique and brilliant individual; he had a lot of institutional knowledge. He knows the infrastructure. We can replace the man but we’ll never replace the knowledge he’s got.

“He knows where the lines are, he knows where the valves are; he knows everything (about the city’s infrastructure). He’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met,” Flaggs said

Right now, Van Norman said he plans to retire at the end of the present city administration’s term.

“(But) if these three (board members) go back in, they may talk me into staying a little bit longer or they may not,” he said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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