Cleveland city manager retiring

After 26 years of service with the City of Cleveland, six as city manager, Kelly McDonald is announcing her retirement. Her last day on the job will be Sept. 16, 2020.

Prior to being selected by Council as the city manager, McDonald was the city secretary and served as interim city manager multiple times.

According to the City of Cleveland’s announcement, “She has been instrumental in various projects throughout her time with the City of Cleveland. Her support and concern for the citizens of the City of Cleveland and the employees is well known and appreciated. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors as well as thanking her for her long tenure of service to the city.”

Her departure is a big loss for the City of Cleveland, says Councilwoman Carolyn McWaters.

“We are happy for her but I am sad for us. We are going to miss her like crazy. She accomplished a lot of things in her 26 years with the City. She has helped lead us to this place of growth we are at today,” said McWaters. “She has dedicated her life to the City and it shows.”

In her capacity as city manager, McDonald appreciated the importance of the City having a close relationship to its business and the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, said Chamber CEO Jim Carson.

“She has been a staple for the city, being there so long. I think she has done a great job. She is quite involved in everything and knows what’s going on in town. We have appreciated her relationship and commitment to the Chamber,” Carson said.

Bobby Pennington, who has served as assistant city manager and finance director, will be the most likely person to be interim city manager while council council seeks a replacement, according to Mayor Richard Boyett.

“I have talked to Bobby and City Secretary Angela Smith. They are both on board with us as we move forward. I think it will be a seamless transition,” Boyett said. “Bobby has been the City’s financial and numbers guy. That’s about 90 percent of the job of city manager. He is an outstanding man and we feel like we are in good shape with this team until we can get other people in.”

The city manager position is not the only open position for the City of Cleveland. Last week, Public Works Director Rod Hainey announced his retirement, Boyett said. Hiring a new public works director is imperative as the City of Cleveland is looking at about $1 million in paving projects this next budget cycle.

“We haven’t paved streets really in about 3-4 years. We are going to be doing some catching up this next summer,” Boyett said. “Plus we are looking at a new fire station, which is another big project.”

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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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