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New city manager brings flood of ideas
by Gary Kent
May 16, 2014 | 70 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New City Manager Jack Hamlett sits in his office at City Hall. The Tennessee native started in his new position on May 1.
New City Manager Jack Hamlett sits in his office at City Hall. The Tennessee native started in his new position on May 1.
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BEEVILLE – After two whirlwind weeks on the job, new City Manager Jack Hamlett is finally getting a chance to see Beeville and spend some time behind his desk at City Hall.

“I’ve spent most of this week with the department heads,” Hamlett said last week.

The new city manager said he also had lunch with Rotary Club members, and he hopes to join that organization to continue a long tradition of Rotary activity.

Also, in the days leading up to Saturday’s City Council elections, Hamlett met with each member of the council.

Now that the elections are finished, Hamlett hopes to spend some one-on-one time with council members.

Hamlett is a native of Johnson City, in eastern Tennessee, but he learned early on that he would have no problem settling in Texas.

As a student of Texas history, Hamlett realizes that probably most of the Anglo settlers who first came to the state were actually from Tennessee.

By the time Hamlett arrived in the Lone Star State he already had a lengthy history as a city manager in other states.

After earning his bachelor and master of science degrees in political science and city management from East Tennessee State University in 1972 and 1975, Hamlett became a management assistant to local governments for the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments in Georgetown, South Carolina.

Then, in 1976, he was hired as the city administrator at Lake City, S.C. In 1981, Hamlett moved to Farragut, Tennessee, to take the position of city administrator in that community.

He moved to Texas in 1995 after being hired as city manager in Seguin.

“I’ve lived in three states,” Hamlett said.

From there Hamlett worked as city manager in Rosenberg, and he was serving as the interim city manager in Sinton when he was hired here last month.

Hamlett said one of his first orders of business will be to take on the city’s water troubles.

“One of the first things I’ve learned since I’ve been to Texas is that water is our future,” Hamlett said.

In fact, it was his experience in developing water projects in other Texas cities that sparked the city council’s interest in him when they reviewed the applicants for the position here.

The new city manager is glad the council chose to contract with interim City Manager Marvin Townsend in their effort to try to solve Beeville’s water problems. He said no one in Texas knows more about solving the Coastal Bend’s water problems than Townsend.

Hamlett said his most important experience in that matter came when he was in Seguin. That city teamed up with Schertz in tackling its water situation. Hamlett said he believes that project helped Seguin to attract some important industrial jobs.

The new city manager and his wife, Elizabeth, have settled into an apartment here, but they hope to sell their home in Rosenberg and find a permanent place in Beeville.

Mrs. Hamlett worked as a high school principal, and she retired from the Seguin Independent School District. The city manager said his wife may do some substitute teaching here to stay busy.

“We’re here to serve the community,” Hamlett said.

After the new manager settles into his job, he intends to look at some other tasks. “We need to look at the future,” he said.

The Hamletts have two sons, two daughters and seven grandchildren.

They all live in Texas now. “So I’m not going anywhere. Our goal was to get back to the San Antonio area.”

Beeville serves that purpose. He said when he saw the city manager position was open here, it seemed like a good opportunity.

Hamlett said he is one of those folks who could retire. But he likes to get up and go to work, “as long as I have my health.”

“I still enjoy what I do.” And because he has few hobbies, getting up and going to work is the best way he knows to stay busy and active.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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