The Town charter was amended in 1963 to provide for the existing council-manager form of government, and Arnold Aiken was hired to serve as Garner’s first town manager. He served in that position until 1966.
Under Aiken’s leadership, the Town began construction of its original sewer system and adopted its first land-use and zoning regulations.
“I urge all citizens of the Town of Garner to commend Arnold Aiken for his service to the Town of Garner, where he provided professional leadership in the delivery of its initial professional land-planning services and utility infrastructure for a town of 3,500 that has now grown to a current population of 27,000 and is recognized as the third-largest municipal service area in Wake County,” Williams said in the proclamation.
Williams presented Aiken with a key to the Town as well as a copy of the proclamation.
Aiken made some brief remarks at the council meeting. He noted how much the Town has grown since he first arrived in 1963.
“When I came here, I was the 16th Town employee,” he recalled. “We had three police officers.”
Aiken, 87, is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He served during World War II as a chief machinist’s mate during the invasion of Iwo Jima.
Aiken and his wife, Raymelle, have been residents of Garner since relocating here in 1963 and are members of Aversboro Road Baptist Church, where Arnold continues to serve as president of the Jo Ann Watkins Love Sunday School Class. He also still enjoys sailing.
The Town was officially chartered as a municipality in 1905 under the mayor-council form of government.