in Houston, Texas
Keller city manager seeks fiscal discipline, cuts his own job
Thursday, Mar 22, 2012, 03:06PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
cutting money

Savor this story. You might not read another like it in your lifetime.

Dan O’Leary, who earns $176,000 a year as the city manager of Keller, a city of about 40,000 people about 25 miles north of Fort Worth, eliminated his own position in his city’s government the other night, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

His last day is April 20.

No city funds squirreled away in Zurich. No affair with the wife of the director of public works. Not even another more prestigious or better paying job.

"It's a little unusual for a city of our size to have three city managers," O'Leary told the Star-Telegram. "There was a time that was needed, but at this point in time, I don't think we need three city managers."

O’Leary told his City Council the 93rd best small city in America to live in, according to Money magazine, and the home of Garrett Hartley, place kicker for the New Orleans Saints, could get along fine with the two who were left.

As if he weren’t generous enough, O’Leary said he planned to recommend either one of the assistants, Steve Polasek and Chris Fuller, to take over.

The 57-year-old O'Leary timed his resignation, he said, so it could not in any way be interpreted as a reaction to the city elections coming in May and to follow completion of the city’s annual report.

In a way, the citizens of Keller might have expected this from O’Leary. He took on some tough jobs, like getting rid of an entrenched fire chief and chief of emergency medical services.

When the economy tanked, he cut back on city employee pay raises and softened tax increases by cutting city expenses. At the same time, the city built a new fire station, expanded its library and put in place expansions for several other municipal buildings.

"He changed the culture at City Hall," Councilman Doug Miller told the Star Telegram. "He left the city on a sustainable financial path for the future. He is a great leader."

O’Leary has a state pension coming for 32 years in government employ, but he is job hunting.

May we suggest any city would be lucky to have him. May we also suggest the city be prepared to make a convincing case for hiring another city manager.

***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of money by flickr user Images_of_Money, used via a Creative Commons license.

Comments
Jennifer
Friday, 03/30/2012 - 02:33AM

What would it be like to have leaders like Mr. O'Leary in every town in the United States? ( And at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue !)

Thank you, Mr. O'Leary for setting the highest standard a leader can set !!!

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