Dayton City Council picks interim city manager

David Willard will be the interim city manager for Dayton starting on July 26. (Photo courtesy of the Longview News-Journal)

Dayton City Council on Monday approved a contract with Strategic Government Resources for interim city manager services as current City Manager Theo Melancon is set to depart on July 23 for his new job with the City of Dickinson, Texas.

Council also selected David Willard to be the interim city manager until a new city manager is hired. Willard officially is set to start on July 26, though he begins working with Melancon this week.

“David Willard has a long, storied history in both city and county government. His last role before retirement was serving as city manager for the City of Longview, Texas,” said Melancon. “Prior to that, he was assistant city manager for the City of Odessa. He also was a city manager for Borger, Texas, and served as a county judge for Hutchison County.”

According to Melancon, Willard has a broad base of knowledge and brings decades of experience with him, which is vital as the City of Dayton continues pushing through some of its big initiatives, such as the fiber internet and mobility projects. The mobility projects involve the realigning of the railroad tracks on US 90, an elevated T-intersection over US 90 at Waco Street, the widening of Lovers Lane and the expansion of the City’s network of sidewalks.

“We also just approved a $200 million capital improvement plan for water and sewer and have a capital improvement plan for more than $70 million in road repairs,” Melancon said. “It will be a busy time for the next city manager. The City is looking for someone with the right background to bring these projects to fruition and to work on strategic planning as Dayton continues to grow into a large city.”

Though he is temporarily holding the job, Willard will not be daunted by the scale and scope of the City’s projects, said Melancon.

“We are excited to have him on board. I plan to spend my last days as city manager getting him up to date on the projects we are working on,” Melancon said.

Willard is expected to be in Dayton for 2-3 months. By then, City Council should have picked a new city manager.

On Thursday, July 15, Council is meeting to consider hiring an executive search firm to recruit city manager candidates.

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