Dayton bids farewell to city manager

Dayton City Manager Theo Melancon's last day on the job was July 23. He took a new job with the City of Dickinson, Texas.

With just three days left before he leaves for another job in Dickinson, the City of Dayton on Wednesday, July 21, hosted a farewell party for City Manager Theo Melancon, awarding him a key to the city and a plaque recognizing his accomplishments since arriving in Dayton four years ago.

Melancon is crediting with helping to develop two tax-increment reinvestment zones – one to revitalize downtown Dayton and one for the 1,050-acre Gulf Inland Logistics Park on US 90 West. He also helped bring major economic development projects to the Dayton area, including the Rail Logix Dayton Interchange Industrial Park on SH 146.

Under his leadership, he led the city to create a Unified Development Code and a Master Parks Plan that led to major improvements throughout the city’s five parks, most notably to Daniel Park, with upgrades to ball fields, field lighting, concession stand and a new playground. He also led the push to bring a high-speed fiber Internet project to Dayton that the City will own and operate.

Dayton City Manager Theo Melancon and Liberty City Manager Tom Warner visit during a farewell party for Melancon on Wednesday, July 21.

Throughout his time in Dayton, Melancon pushed for improvements on mobility projects, such as construction of new sidewalks and the expansion of roads, and he leaves Dayton with a plan to create an elevated T-intersection over US 90 at Waco Street, which should alleviate some of the heavy traffic flow that can be especially problematic during rush hour traffic or when school buses are in operation.

Melancon is leaving Dayton for a position as the first city manager for Dickinson, Texas. Up until now, Dickinson has operated under a city administrator.

While the City of Dayton seeks a new city manager, through an executive head-hunting company called Strategic Government Resources, it has hired an interim city manager – David Willard, a retired city manager who previously worked for the Texas cities of Longview, Borger and Odessa.

Willard is set to officially start on July 26.

At his going-away party on Wednesday, guests includes Dayton Mayor Caroline Wadzeck, Liberty Mayor Carl Pickett, Liberty City Manager Tom Warner, current and former Dayton city council members, City employees and Chamber representatives.

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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.


  1. who is really going to miss this clown? He should be indicted for some of the crooked crap he pulled. Another Dayton outsider that needs to go. gks

    • You are in the minority with your scathing comment. Anybody ever tell you “If you don’t have anything good to say, be quiet”? Theo is a smart, hard working guy and Dayton will benefit for decades from things that happened under Mr. Melancon’s tenure. Dayton’s loss will be Dickinson’s gain.

  2. As an outsider and one familiar with city managment throughout the region I can say that the inclusive culture created by Theo as your city manager is excellent.

    His guidance allowing staff to concentrate on “customer service” where the citizen taxpayers, businesses, and those wishing to relocate their family or business to Dayton are the “customer” is one of the best in the state.

    Dayton will prosper for years to come due to the systems set in place during his time with the city and the empowerment he offered staff allowing them to grow and a culture to become firmly seated.

    Future City managers, staff, and council will have a highly functional base to build from.

  3. He was reprimanded for having an inappropriate relationship with another city worker. The woman in question lost her job and he had to apologize to each city worker personally. It was also said that he had his salary cut. That is why he left. At least report the truth.

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