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By CHARLES RICHARDS
Ron Sullivan is retiring as public works director for the City of Paris – a job he has held for the past 22 months.
“Ron has announced his retirement, effective Jan. 4, next Friday,” city manager John Godwin confirmed to eParisExtra.com.
“We’re going to leave that vacant for six months or more, depending on how that goes – maybe a lot longer than that, maybe not any longer than that,” Godwin said.
“That will give the division heads, as I call them – his department supervisors – a chance to hopefully grow and have a little more independence. We’ll see now that goes, how they all do,” the city manager said.
Six department heads have reported to Sullivan:
“Those guys =- and one gal – will report directly to me, although they obviously won’t see me as much as they saw Ron, since they were just down the hall from him and they’ll be down the street from me,” Godwin said.
“They’ll have a little more independence. That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll see how that goes. They’ll have more opportunity to grow, and hopefully, they will do that,” the manager added.
Godwin said he may use Sullivan’s retirement as an opportunity to reorganize the structure of some city departments.
The public works department “is a big department as far as the scope of things that it does,” Godwin told eParisExtra.
“Some things don’t always seem to make sense, but it comes down to the people, not how it looks on paper. It may be entirely logical in real life, or it may not be. But this will give me a chance to work with them directly and decide what we want to do differently. And maybe it will be nothing,” Godwin said.
Sullivan’s retirement in Paris will end 36 years as an engineer for Arlington, the Texas Department of Transportation, Bedford, Palestine and, finally, Paris.
Sullivan has been the public works director since April 18, 2011, hired by interim city manager Gene Anderson following Sullivan’s retirement on March 31, 2011, as public works director at Palestine, for whom he had worked for seven years.
Texas Municipal Retirement System rules allow a person to go to work at another city starting the following month.
Sullivan’s retirement comes on the heels of the retirement of Ronnie Grooms, 57, as fire chief on Oct. 15 – 34 years to the day from when Grooms joined the department. He had been the fire chief since 2001.
On Nov. 19, the Paris City Council confirmed Lawrence H. “Larry” Wright III, 64, as the new fire chief. Wright, who has 33 years of fire department experience, came out of retirement as the recent fire chief at Marble Falls, Texas, to join Godwin, for whom Wright had worked as fire chief in Rowlett.