City of Liberty bids farewell to longtime city secretary, promotes within ranks to fill position

April Gilliand (left) is the incoming city secretary for the City of Liberty. She replaces retiring city secretary Dianne Tidwell, who has held the position for more than 34 years.

After more than 34 years with the City of Liberty, City Secretary Dianne Tidwell is retiring. She plans to spend more time traveling and pursuing leisure activities with her husband, former Liberty and Tomball police chief Billy Tidwell, at their home in Tomball.

Over the last three decades, Tidwell has worked under seven city managers – the most recent being City Manager Tom Warner. She was named city secretary in 2001 after the previous city secretary, Bruce Mintz, was hired as city attorney.

While her job entails wearing hats, Tidwell said her favorite part has been working with the citizens of Liberty, particularly during times of crisis like the Flood of 1994 or the various ice storms, tornadoes and hurricanes that impacted the community.

“My goal was to do everything in my power to see that Liberty residents were happy about where they lived and their interaction with their local government. I did what I could to make a difference for them,” she said.

The Tidwells are celebrating their 20 years of marriage this year. Together they have three daughters and four grandchildren. As one of their daughters, Jennifer Koen Flowers, and her children will continue living in Liberty County, the Tidwells will be traveling frequently to Liberty to visit with family and friends, and eat at some of their favorite restaurants.

“I have been telling everyone this isn’t goodbye; it’s see you soon,” Tidwell said.

April Gilliland will be the city secretary after Tidwell’s departure. Gilliland, a native of Dayton and a 1990 graduate of Dayton High School, has 13 years of experience in city administration with the City of Liberty and worked for a number of years previously as an administrative assistant for a local insurance company.

As an administrative assistant for the City, she has had the opportunity to help organize food vendors, entertainment, publicity and promotion for Liberty Jubilee, one of the City’s biggest annual events. Gilliland says she also enjoys working with community development corporations to bring new businesses to the city.

Gilliland and her late husband, Roy, have four children and eight grandchildren. When she isn’t at work, Gilliland can be found spending time with her youngest daughter, a freshman and junior varsity cheerleader at Liberty High School.

“She keeps me busy and on the go. When we aren’t doing those things, we are usually at home working on some type of craft like sewing or painting. My daughter is into diamond paintings and I’ve gotten into that, too,” Gilliland said.

When asked if she is intimidated about her new role for the city, Gilliland admits that following Tidwell will be a fun challenge.

“I’ve told people that I have some pretty big shoes to fill. Dianne is a hard act to follow and she will be missed very much,” she said.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


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