City’s newest outdoor warning siren is installed on FM 195

By CHARLES RICHARDS

eParisExtra!

 The City of Paris has installed in the 3800 block of FM 195 the city’s sixth outdoor warning siren, Paris police chief Bob Hundley announced Friday.

Police Chief Bob Hundley

“This location will serve the area of north Paris and northeast Paris and along the FM 195 area.  The 135 db siren rotates and has a one-mile range,” Hundley said.

The city’s newest warning siren is on the property of the Lamar County Water Supply, which agreed to a city easement for the placement of the siren.

Like the city’s five other warning sirens, the new siren  is designed primarily to warn people who are outside when severe weather is threatening the city.

People who hear the sirens should always check with local media outlets for more information, Hundley said.

The original five sirens were installed shortly after the tornado that hit Paris in April 1982.  Before the siren installations, emergency vehicles were assigned routes to drive slowly with lights and sirens on to warn people that a severe storm was imminent.

“This particular siren is powered by DC current from batteries instead of commercial power that could be lost before a storm turns severe or during the storm,” Hundley said. “This siren is also solar powered since the battery component needs only a ‘trickle charge’ to keep the siren functional.  The siren can run up to 18 minutes on battery.”

Radio programming and testing will take place over the next few weeks before the location becomes fully functional.  Once operational, the siren will be tested on the last Friday of the month with all other siren locations.  The siren cost was a capital outlay item in this year’s city budget in the amount of $24,315.16.

 —

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The prescription for a long, happy life

By JEFF PARISH

eParisExtra!

After 50 years in the same job, most people might think about retiring. And while Pharmacist James Miears has slowed down a little in the last few years, he certainly hasn’t stopped.

“I’m blessed with good health, and I still enjoy seeing the old friends and customers,” he said. “We are working on three generations of people doing business with us.”

He may be the longest continually practicing pharmacist in Paris. It’s something that has impressed daughter Leslie Lange

“He’s always been there,” she said. “He’s never stopped practicing for 50 years. That’s amazing to me.”

Miears didn’t always want to be a pharmacist. In fact, he had planned to go to medical school after he graduated from Paris High in 1956. That was until he met his future wife, Chloie, who worked at Corner Drug downtown.

“I would go in to pick her up,” Miears said. “I met a pharmacist named Ray Rhodes, and I changed from pre-med to pharmacy and haven’t regretted it.”

He graduated from the University of Texas College of Pharmacy in May 1962 and became a licensed pharmacist the following month after passing three days of board exams. Things are certainly different now. Back when Miears graduated, a pharmacist had to have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for the board. Today, it requires a doctorate in pharmacy.

When Miears and his wife moved back to Paris in 1962, he went to work at Williamsburg Drug, which was owned by Ray Rhodes.

“At that time, the pharmacist could not communicate with the patient about the medicine. We couldn’t even put the name of the drug on a label,” he said, noting that these days, pharmacists are even allowed to give immunizations. “In 50 years, we have progressed to where now the pharmacist by law is required to counsel the patient about the use of the medication, potential side effects, to check the patient’s profile to see if there are any drug-drug inter-reactions.”

He said in the last couple of weeks, the pharmacy has caught several drug reactions and conferred with the doctor to find the best solution. But 50 years ago, Miears said he was the “most over-educated, underutilized professional in town.”

As an example, he pointed to a medication called achromycin available in pediatric drops that doctors commonly used to treat infections in infants. It had an unfortunate side effect of turning permanent teeth gray as the children aged.

“Pharmacists knew of that side effect of the medication, but we couldn’t warn or counsel moms about the medication,” he said. “We have a population of 50- and 60-year-olds with permanently stained teeth.”

Miears worked at Williamsburg Drug for about 18 months, before following the dream of nearly every pharmacist in that day. He opened Miears Pharmacy in February 1964. After four years, his business moved to the location that now houses Paris Apothecary at 707 Lamar. About 40 years later, he sold the business. Actually, he sold three of them.

The retail pharmacy was sold in June 2007. But by then, he also had IV Services of Texas, which opened in 1991, and Miears Long Term Care Pharmacy, which opened in 2000. Lange and Lee Ann Hampton formed a business and bought those two in July 2007. Miears helps out when needed.

“The customers who have come back to us from other places love seeing him again,” Lange said. “He’s wonderful with the customers. It’s great working with my dad.”

The long-term care business, which still operates under the same name, is not the typical walk-in pharmacy. It’s a restricted business that serves assisted living and nursing homes across the region. IV Services became what is known as Paris Apothecary.

“I work for my daughter now,” he said. “I don’t make the business decisions anymore. That’s their responsibility. They’ve earned that.”

It’s an interesting relationship. Lange relates more to her father on the business side of things.

“He’s one of the kindest people I’ve ever met,” Lange said. “I’ve learned so much from him about how to relate to people and provide the best customer service we can.”

Hampton, on the other hand, finds more of a connection with the pharmacy side of things. Miears hired her as a pharmacist and became her mentor. She came to work at Miears Pharmacy because of a rotation she spent there while in school.

“I would have never owned my own pharmacy if not for my experience working for him,” Hampton said.

His is certainly a pharmacy-oriented family. In addition to owning the business, Lange is a certified pharmacy technician. Another daughter, Katherine, is a pharmacist who runs a Kroger pharmacy in northwest Dallas. Miears also has a son who married a pharmacist and a grandson who starts pharmacy school at Texas Tech in August.

Although he sold the business, Miears has kept going. He works from time to time at his daughter’s business, and in 2008, he helped the hospital for a couple of months through a pharmacist shortage there.

“The pharmacist is becoming a recognized member of the health care team,” he said. “The pharmacists coming out of college today have six years of training, education and knowledge. It’s time they were recognized.”

That is helping to change some long-held misconceptions about the field, he said. Particularly the notion that pharmacists are little more than pill counters.

“Pharmacy was looked upon for years as count and pour and lick and stick,” he said. “I don’t know that I would be qualified for acceptance into pharmacy school today. The competition is stiff.”

Large pharmacy schools such as Texas Tech or the University of Texas may get 1,000 or more applications a year and only accept 125 to 150 of them.
The profession is becoming more female oriented, Miears said. His graduating class of about 75 only had seven women. Today, the classes can be 50 percent to 70 percent female.

He’s seen large changes in how the industry works, as well. When Miears graduated, few if any people had insurance. They paid for their medications directly with cash or charge accounts. Now, nearly everyone uses some kind of insurance – and each company the pharmacy deals with requires a different contract.

Government prescription programs have been especially troublesome. Miears watched the first Medicaid program rolled out in Texas. And then came the Medicare Part D, which covers elderly prescriptions through insurance companies.

“That was a nightmare,” he said. “All that year, I was negotiating with insurance companies, getting contracts in place, pushing my staff to get ready and be prepared.”

When customers started coming in with their new prescription cards January 2, it quickly became chaos. People would be denied. The pharmacy would double check the coverage, only to find no listing for the patient. They would call the insurance companies Miears had worked so hard to establish relationships with only to be told the company didn’t know who Miears Pharmacy was.

The mess took about two months to straighten out nationwide. Which meant two months of getting little if any money for many customers. Pharmacists basically kept the program afloat while the kinks were worked out, Miears said, and many of them went broke doing it.

“Pharmacy is a wonderful profession,” he said. “It bends over backwards to help people.”

The wrap-up: City manager comments on various issues of city government

(Editor’s note:  This is the last of a four-part series wrapping up a 90-minute interview last week with Paris city manager John Godwin.)

By CHARLES RICHARDS

eParisExtra!

City manager John Godwin

John Kenneth Godwin, 53, is wrapping up his first month as city manager of the City of Paris.

In this article, we’ll wrap up issues the city manager commented on during a 90-minute question-and-answer interview with eParisExtra! on a wide range of city issues:

 

Question: For years, public officials and citizens like have complained about Paris’ appearance. It’s a daunting task that never seems to get done. What are your thoughts on attacking this problem?

Godwin: Short term, it means making sure you have enough money set aside to hire enough people, whether it’s contractors or employees, to mow the grass over and over and over. Longer term, I think the city has got to come up with ways to get some of these properties back on the tax roll. If you’ve got property owners taking care of it, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. If you just keep mowing these lots forever and you keep piling liens on them forever, nothing’s going to ever change and eventually you’ll have 7,000 guys out there mowing grass every day. You can maybe make the city look good, but your whole tax rate’s going to go to mowing grass, and you don’t want that. So you have to have some kind of long-term strategy, I think, to turn that trend around.

 

Question: So I guess the suggestion of giving breaks on liens on properties all over Paris resonates with you.

Godwin: If it helps us get property in the hands of private property owners who are going to take care of the property – and that’s a big proviso there – then, yeah, I’m actually all for it, whatever we can do to make that happen. Private land ownership is a huge thing in American history, and it’s a big thing in Paris. You own that land, you take care of that property, you make it productive, you pay your taxes – all that sort of thing. That’s what needs to happen. It’s hard to do, so much easier said than done, because people don’t have the resources to do that, but anything we can do to make that easier is a good thing.

 

Question: The mayor, in particular, is against the use of consultants for a wide range of projects, as opposed to doing the work in house. What is your view on that?

Godwin: I don’t know all the contracts, and if I looked at the whole list I might go along with all of them. But my gut feeling is it’s an awful lot of money. I think governments commonly have that habit, to just hire a consultant, because it’s easier, more security — there are different reasons that people do it, so I don’t feel comfortable saying it’s too much, but it looks like it’s too much. Really good consultants have marketing people that try to drum up business, and that’s their job. I respect that, but sometimes you say, “Well, we don’t really need your help. Thanks anyway.” At Fairview, we were kind of anti-consultant … we did a lot of things in house. Now, we didn’t do design in house, except for maybe some small drainage projects, things like that — sidewalk projects. And we hired engineers to design water lines and sewer lines and streets and water towers and water tanks and so forth. But we didn’t use consultants for, like rate studies. We did those in house. We did the storm water utility in house. There’s a lot of money in that, and I’d rather keep it in house and pay one of my people than somebody from outside the organization. When we did hire an engineer, we were always careful to rotate consulting business among multiple people. We had three engineers that were great and we just used those over and over and over.

 

Question: The city staff recently brought to the city council a proposed storm sewer utility district that would be funded by a monthly fee on the monthly water bill. What are your thoughts about that?

Godwin: It’s a good way to generate funds, to earmark funds. They have to be used for a specific thing. You collect it for drainage, it has to go to drainage. So from that sense, it’s a good way to generate new money. You need new money because from what I’ve heard, there’s an awful  lot of drainage issues out there. So just purely, we have a problem that costs money, let’s get the money to fix it, that makes sense. The downside, obviously, is that money is coming from human beings who live here and they don’t necessarily want to pay more than they’re already paying. The other problem with it is everybody pays it, but everybody’s not going to get a drainage problem fixed. If you don’t have a drainage problem at your house, you still have to pay $2 a month or $4 a month or whatever. Some people are OK with that, you know, hey, it comes from the whole community and I don’t mind, $2 a month is not that much money. But some people don’t like it and don’t think it’s fair. You know, somebody’s got a drainage problem, let him fix his problem; don’t ask me to pay for it.

We did it in Fairview. We paid for part of our city engineer that way, we bought equipment that way, and we made a lot of drainage improvements. We actually put together a priority list of 195 projects – I mean it was a lot of projects, and you knew if you were No. 180 on that list, it was going to be a few years before we got to you. But at least you understood, so for the most part people were OK with it. But there was a lot more disposable income in Fairview, too, with an average home price of almost $350,000. Two dollars for them wasn’t very much at all. That’s the downside. It’s still money. You’re still getting money from taxpayers. It’s not a tax, but it‘s a fee. It’s still money comey from taxpayers who want to get something from their money.

 

Question: One of the things in your favor, when you were one of three finalists for the city manager’s job here was that as town manager at Fairview, you successfully competed against other cities in far north Dallas for some major retail stores. How were you able to pull that off?

Godwin: You know, Fairview had five or six thousand people, and we were competing with McKinney, which had 110,000 people, and Allen, which had 80,000 people — big cities on either side of us. And they just assumed it would be between the two of them. It was like they were saying to us, “Well, you know, we’ll be polite to you, but y’all are silly to even try to get any of this development.”  Well, we won, and the reason we won was because when we talked to Dillards, and when we talked to Whole Foods, or when we talked to anybody else, we said “We’ll do whatever you need us to do. We want to be partners with you to get this done.” We developed that reputation. Allen and McKinney – especially McKinney, because they’re a city of 110,000 and we’re beating them on business projects. To this day, I think they think we must have bribed people or something. But it was just that same thing, “What do you need?” You know, we didn’t give away the farm, but we did what we needed to do. We got rid of a lot of the bureaucracy and a lot of the rules. McKinney was telling them, “We’ll give you an answer in a year.” I said “Well, I’ll give you an answer today. I’ll go convince the council next week that it’s OK, but I’m going to tell you today what we can do for you.” Well, they loved that, because time is money, and all that stuff. While McKinney and Allen were discussing and debating, we had already made a deal. It was a great thrill to beat somebody that was bigger and stronger and faster than us.

Question: In a workshop session with city council members, you told them that on two different occasions just one day earlier you heard of city employees telling someone, “Well, we can’t do that. We’re not supposed to do that.” You said: “I haven’t gotten mad at anybody yet, but it’s inevitable that I will because I hate that kind of answer.” Can you elaborate?

Godwin: When somebody comes in the door, no matter how outlandish or off the wall or whatever else their request might be, you have to try to help them. Sometimes you can’t, but you can almost always at least empathize with them and try to understand. Empathy is such a huge thing, at work and at home and everywhere else. If you can empathize with people, you can make a lot of progress with most of them. … People like to be right too much, and they want to argue, and staff can sometimes get defensive and take it personally. Well, it‘s not a personal thing, and that’s what we have to be careful of. You know, an employee can say, “Well, Mr. so and so, you might try this, or you might try that. Or maybe it’s like, “Gee, I’m sorry. I feel bad, but we can’t help you.” You know, we don’t provide every service out there. But you have to care about your customers. Every time a citizen walks in the door, no matter who he is, even if he’s one of the mean ones, that’s a challenge. It’s easy to be nice to the nice people. That’s kind of biblical — it’s easy to be nice to the nice people. The real test is when you’re nice to the mean ones. Some of them will quit being mean to you if you’re nice to them. No matter who they are, they’re paying your salary if they’re a taxpayer here. You might not like it, and inside you might be stewing. You might go home and kick your cat, but you take it because, you know, they’re your boss. So hopefully I can get that across, and again hopefully most people already have that attitude, but to the extent that they don’t, they need to get it.

Question: A few minutes ago, you interrupted our interview to take a complaint from someone and you settled it very quickly. Can you share what that was about?

Godwin: It was a small thing, but all these hornets or bees or something were scaring some people, and the staff didn’t know what to do about it. It was on private property, and I was like, “Just go kill ‘em. Just go kill ‘em. It’s OK.” And maybe we’ve got somebody that loves hornets and they’re going to be mad that we killed hornets. And maybe the property owner will say we shouldn’t have killed the hornets on his private property, and so maybe I’ll get in trouble with that because I told them to go ahead and kill those hornets, to take care of the problem. And that’s what they’re doing right now. That’s what we’re here for. Such is life. You have to make decisions. I tell my people “I’d rather you make mistakes than do nothing.”  That’s a small thing, but all these hornets that are out there, scaring people. “Just go kill ‘em. It’s OK.”

 

Question: I wrote in a recent story that you are opposed to across-the-board raises for all employees. I said you wanted to tear up the city’s “step-and-grade” pay plan that gives an employee an automatic raise every year. I received an e-mail from a city employee who wrote that my characterization was incorrect. I kind of agree with him, that I did not say that very well.

Please comment on his e-mail to me, which follows: “City of Paris employees are definitely not guaranteed an “automatic raise every year” in the current step and grade plan. It appears there is a misunderstanding regarding the step and grade pay plan and proposed COLA, cost-of-living adjustments, which are two completely different subjects. Whereas the step and grade system involves an employee hired in at the bottom salary of the grade, assigned to the position, the opportunity to advance, by step, in salary to a maximum (at two year intervals), the COLA is a salary adjustment that is proposed at the discretion of the City Manager, and upon approval by the City Council, to keep pace with inflation based on the Consumer Price Index. In my many years as a City employee, I assure you that a cost of living adjustment is not “automatic” and employees have gone a number of years without receiving one.”

Godwin: Thank you. I completely understand and agree with the employee’s comments.

 

Question: You’ve been here almost a month. Any regrets?

Godwin: I’m excited about this. You change jobs, and I had a good job and they treated me pretty well for the most part. When I was making the decision, I thought, “Should I go to Paris?” And then I thought, “Yeah!” I got an email from my oldest brother today who said, “How’s things in Paris?” And it was not necessarily meant as a compliment. I’m like, I love this. I like this sort of thing, and I like this place. And like I said, my wife is really anxious about getting over here. She’s excited about moving here. I was driving down the street at 6 o’clock this morning, and I’m like, “I like this!” I’m taking some ownership of it in my mind already. This is my town.

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John and Stacy Godwin say Paris reminds them of his hometown of Marshall

 

John and Stacy Godwin are shown before the Paris City Council meeting on May 14, nine days before his first day on the job as city manager of the City of Paris. (eParisExtra! photo by Charles Richards)

 

(Editor’s Note: Paris city manager John Godwin says Paris reminds him of his hometown of Marshall “my favorite place in the whole world. “Not to insult Fairview,“ which he left to come to Paris, “but Fairview always felt like it was a movie set. Paris is a real city.“ — Part 3 of a four-part series.)

By CHARLES RICHARDS

EParisExtra!

In his fourth week on the job as city manager of Paris, John Godwin says ‘I’m having a lot of fun. Paris reminds me of my hometown of Marshall, my favorite place in the whole world.”

Godwin, 53, began work in Paris on May 23 after resigning his position as town manager at Fairview, a Collin County community between McKinney and Allen.

“Not to insult Fairview, but Fairview always felt like it was a movie set. It was a bedroom community. The average home price was about $350,000 — big houses and big lots and over 90 percent Caucasian. I didn‘t even live there — couldn‘t afford it,” he said.

“Paris is a real city with real colors of people, big houses and little houses, and bumpy roads. You don’t like some of the bad things, but it’s a real place, and that’s what interests me in the job. I’m having a lot of fun. I was getting a little bored in Fairview. It was not enough of a challenge for me.”

The Paris City Council picked Godwin from more than 100 applicants who applied for the job.

Godwin said he got his first look at Paris three or four years ago, when he drove over with his bicycle for a Tour de Paris event.

“My younger brother and I rode in it a couple of times. He’s younger and healthier, a racer. I’m more of a slow plodder. But anyway, I’d been here before,” Godwin said.

It wasn’t a turnoff at all, he says, but it was a lot different from Fairfiew, certainly, and also from Rowlett, the northeast Dallas County community where Godwin worked as assistant city manager and acting manager before taking the job as town manager of  Fairview in 2001.

He continued living in Rowlett, where his wife, Stacy, was a special ed teacher and his three daughters were in the schools there. It was about a half-hour commute to him to Fairview.

“At first, I was thinking, ‘Oh, gee, I don’t know.’ It wasn’t a turnoff at all, but it was different from Rowlett, and certainly different from Fairview. But my next immediate thought was, ‘This reminds me of Marshall.’ “

After more than three weeks in town, Paris continues to remind me of Marshall, he says.

“It’s a great place with good, friendly, hard-working, regular American people. And I like that. It’s everything I expected, everything I was looking for. It’s an old city with an old downtown. You’ve got some code enforcement issues and some old buildings downtown — some that are occupied and some that are not,” Godwin said.

“The hope is that someone will come along and fix them up and put businesses in there,” he said of the substandard buildings downtown. “There are just a lot of similar issues (between Paris and Marshall). Same size, almost exactly. And so, this feels like home.

“My wife made the same observation her first time here. She said, ‘This feels like Marshall.’ So she’s got the same feelings. She’s really anxious to get over here. She’s really looking forward to moving over here. She really wants to be here and to work here and to live here,” Godwin said.

The Godwins’ youngest daugher, Courtney Erin, is 17.

“It’s going to be her senior year in high school. She’s looking for a soccer team. She’s like, ’Now, which high school has the better soccer team?’ She wants to be a teacher like her mom.“

At first, after going to work in Paris, Godwin lived out of a motel room. He has since rented a duplex in the Paris Independent School District.

“But I don’t have any furniture except for a bed without a mattress, but I’m getting close,” he said.

He’s sleeping on an air mattress for now.

“I don’t have a shower curtain yet, either. I got ready to take a shower yesterday and I went, ‘Oh, no — no shower curtain,’ and so I took a bath instead.”

The Godwins will live in a duplex for now, “until we know the town and find a place to buy or build. My wife, she loves old houses like I do, and she’s already looking at houses on Church Street. She says, ‘I’ve always wanted to own a big house, and we could do this, and we could do this, and this.’ “ he said.

“Paris is a historic town, and I like this stuff. You know, that’s kind of what makes a real town. I told my wife, I’ve already got the Paris-North Lamar football game on my calendar for September or October. And I’ve made notes about the Christmas tree lighting, and the municipal concert on Friday nights at Bywaters Park,” Godwin said.

“You know, places like Fairview, they don’t do that type of thing. They just live there and sit around and be rich. It’s not a real place at all. I’m excited to be here.”

Paris Fairview
Population (2010) 25,171 7,248
   Males 11,741 3,504
   Females 13,430 3,744
Median Age 37.1 49.2
Unemployment Rate 10.8% 7.40%
Average House Value $74,110 $326,608
Median Income $30,894 $104,974
Household Income $34,560 $116,836
Income per capita $19,434 $46,051
Poverty Rate 24.1% 2.1%
Race/Ethnic Groups
   White 63.8% 84.2%
   African-American 23.1% 3.4%
   Hispanic 8.2% 6.2%
   Asian 0.9% 4.2%
American Indian 1.2% 0.5%
Other 2.8% 1.5%

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Cutting taxes while tackling the City of Paris’ many needs ‘will be difficult,’ Godwin says

 

(Editor’s Note: Part 2 of a series — Paris city manager John Godwin discusses the challenge given him by the council to cut city taxes while at the same time significantly increasing city services. He concedes: ‘It will be difficult.’)

 By CHARLES RICHARDS

EParisExtra!

City manager John Godwin

Paris city manager John Godwin nodded and took notes last week when council members gave him a “to do” list that includes spending at least $250,000 each on:

Replacing the city’s crumbling infrastructure,

Building new streets,

Tearing down dilapidated structures, and

Cleaning up the city.

All while drastically reducing the $700,000 a year that the city budgets for overtime.

And oh, yes – mayor AJ Hashmi also asked the manager to come up with a comprehensive strategic plan in the next 12 months and to cut taxes by 1 percent each of the next five years.

“I don’t know if that’s going to be possible. It will be difficult,” Godwin said in a midweek interview. “Cutting taxes is always a good goal, but to do it for five years in a row is perhaps asking too much. We’re certainly going to try.”

PEDC board member Doug Wehrman

“May I make a recommendation?” a reporter asked Godwin in mid-week.

“Sure,” Godwin said.

“See if you can borrow Doug Wehrman’s shirt that he wore to the PEDC meeting on Tuesday.

“Superman?” Godwin asked. “Hahahaha.”

The council told Godwin that more people are needed in code enforcement, and that drainage problems need to be taken care of right away.

“I’ve got a lot of things I’m looking at. I’ve got a semi-action plan — a list of about 50 things I want to get done by September 30th, the end of the fiscal year,” Godwin said.

“I don’t believe I was hired to do the status quo. That may mean some reorganization. That may mean some staff changes. Don’t be surprised at anything I may do because I’m all crazy when it comes to that sort of thing.”

He added: “Like I say, I’ve already got my 50 things. I don’t know if there’s a top five. I mean, they’re not ranked in any order.”

“I’ve got about a six-page list of notes. I kind of consolidated all my notes from the past few weeks yesterday, and then from there I am narrowing it down to things I want to get this summer, right of way,” he said.

“Some of it has to do with some changes that will probably happen in conjunction with the new budget year — maybe some reorganization, maybe some staff changes — not running people off but just doing thins differently. Doing the agenda differently. Some of it’s pretty simple stuff, but just getting things going.”

Some of them, he said, are small things like cutting down a dead tree, and some of them are bigger things like reorganizing department, trying to improve communications — those kind of things.

“But no, it wasn’t hard to get to 50 things. Actually, it was hard to keep it that short of a list, but some of the things will take an hour and a half and some will take six months, maybe. I’m just trying to get myself focused, because the first few weeks you’re here, you talk to so many people, you see so many things, you want to learn about so many things. I think one of the main things is to at least begin to create a mindset in employees that their purpose of being here is to serve people,” Godwin said.

He’s assuming there are things he can do to increase productivity.

“That’s usually the case. There’s not many perfect organizations in government, or in the private sector either for that matter,” he said.

“It’s going to take me a while to know, can you get rid of two people, or six people, or no people. Because at the very same meeting with the council, we were talking about doing more in a lot of areas rather than less. We need more people out mowing grass, for example. So it’s a challenge.”

In a 90-minute interview, Godwin frequently compared managing to coaching.

His father, Fred Godwin, was a longtime high school coach at Harleton and Marshall, and his brother, Mark Godwin, has been coaching for more than 30 years and is now at Hallsville.

Before going into city management, John Godwin was a coach for four years, right out of college. He spent two years each at Arp and Whitehouse as a history teacher and offensive line coach.

“Like coaching, managing is about developing a team, finding out who contributes best, where to put them in the right position so they can contribute to the team the most — holding people accountable, giving people second chances,” Godwin said.

“When the quarterback has a bad game, you don’t bench him. Now, if he has two or three bad games you might bench him. In city government, if a department isn’t performing, there’s a responsibility on the department head to raise the level,” Godwin said.

“I’ll put pressure on them to do that, or, you know, find somebody that can. It’s not fun, but it’s part of the deal.”

Carrying the football analogy further, Godwin said: “There are some employees you have to yell at to make him perform, and the next guy, if I yell at him he’s going to quit on me.”

He added: “You’ve got to know which ones are which, and that’s why I like to be out there and know my people. And I do consider them my people. I consider them like a family, and I’m the dad that sometimes has to discipline,” he said.

“Hopefully you can reward them and pat them on the back more often than not. That’s a better motivator for most people. But you’ve got to know them and know what they need, so you can help them become the best that they can be. You know, what can I do to get these guys to perform and to succeed?”

His first-ever city job was patching pot holes for the City of Marshall as a 21-year-old in 1980.

“I still remember that. I was out at the (public works) shop this morning. , I met a supervisor out there. I told him, ‘Now you’re going to be my favorite department, because my first-ever city job was patching pot holes for $2.75 an hour, doing what you guys do.’

“Those guys get forgotten a lot of time, you know, the people that work in public works, or the guy that’s standing in that six feet hole in the water, like when we had that big water break the other day. It was a two or three day beating for those jobs. I’ve done stuff like that before, so they need to be appreciated, They’re important and they need to know they’re important.”

Godwin said he hopes, with time, that young people look at a job with the City of Paris as a good option.

“I hope over time — and I don’t know if take six months or two years — that people take pride in saying ‘I work for the City of Paris, and that it’s a good thing that they tell people, and they’re happy and they recommend it to their friends and relatives,” he said.

“Instead of, you know, ‘Well, I guess I could work for the city.’ I don’t know if that’s the way it is now, but if it is we need to change it. You know, ‘I think I want to go be a police officer, or I want to work in public works, or I want to be an accountant‘ or whatever it is, for the City of Paris.”

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