Council OKs Lockhart City Manager Vance Rodgers’ retirement
By Miles Smith
Editor / POST-REGISTER
Vance Rodgers’ 12-year run as Lockhart city manager will come to an end in June.
The Lockhart City Council voted on Tuesday night to accept a letter of intent to retire from the city manager, ending a more-than-50-year career in public service.
“It is with great reluctance and great appreciation that the city council will accept your letter of intent to retire on or about June 30, 2018,” said Lockhart Mayor Lew White following an executive session to discuss the letter and next steps. “We greatly appreciate your years of service and your knowledge of city workings. I don’t think the city has ever had, or will ever have again, an employee like you.
“We know you’ll be out in the audience – and that’s scary – but we will keep you in our hearts and prayers.”
The city council won’t waste any time in beginning its search for its next city manager. Council on Tuesday voted 7-0 to hold a special council meeting at 7 p.m. in the Lockhart public library to begin conducting interviews with professional search firms who could help find Rodgers’ potential replacement.
Rodgers, a Lockhart native, said he first sat in the city manager’s chair in 1969.
“They offered it to me several times in the past, but I didn’t take it,” Rodgers recalled.
Rodgers returned to Lockhart in 1995 after several years working for Austin’s public works department in various roles. He was the assistant city manager until 2005, when they again asked him to take the helm.
This time, he accepted, and he went in with both feet first.
As he sat in the meeting room on the third floor of the public library, he looked at his phone and said he had a meeting at 6 a.m. Such a thing is just another day at the office for Rodgers, he said.
“My greatest accomplishment is making more than 15,000 pots of coffee for my fellow employees,” Rodgers laughed. “I’ve usually had a pot by the time everyone gets to the office, and I have to make another one. That’s why I buy the coffee.”
Once he ultimately retires, Rodgers said he planned to spend more time working on other businesses he was involved in. Even with the grueling schedule of a city manager, he finds time to volunteer, and he said he planned to spend more time doing that – including more time working with the homeless.
He said he didn’t expect to be involved in the search for the next city manager, saying that was up to the council, but said one thing was for certain.
“It needs to be a person who embraces the term ‘public servant,’” he said.
The city manager said highlights of his tenure there included “completing many major drainage projects that will save people from flooding, and seeing the creation of a good animal shelter.”
Rodgers said he was not surprised he had occupied the spot more than a decade.
“I was hoping to stay that long,” he said. “I’ve had plenty of other offers since I came back here, but this is where I grew up. I was shining shoes on the square when I was a kid. It’s where I live, and it’s where my kids and grandkids have grown up.”