Chester Nolen.tif

Chester Nolen

Cleburne City Manager Chester Nolen announced his resignation Tuesday. The announcement came on the heels of an executive session held by the Cleburne City Council during Tuesday’s workshop session.

Reached earlier in the day, before the workshop, Nolen declined to confirm or deny his pending resignation.

“I’m not prepared to comment on that just yet,” Nolen said. “There’s a lot of rumors going around. I will say this, I’m not being fired, nor have I been asked for my resignation.”

Council members convened into executive session after the workshop to discuss the matter for about an hour. Nolen announced his decision at the end of the regular council meeting.

“Life changes occur at times, and I’m about to enter another phase in my life,” Nolen said. “After 38 years of public service, I will be stepping down effective Jan. 31.

“We have accomplished a lot in Cleburne and made wide improvements. And I say we, meaning this council, previous councils, city staff and the citizens of Cleburne. We have a staff that’s second to none. We haven’t always agreed, but one thing binds us all together. We’re all professionals who do our job, and who have the best interests of our citizens at heart.

“To my friends, I thank you profusely. To my family, who have sacrificed because dad wasn’t always at home, I love you and thank you for your support and love.”

Nolen said he is “very pleased” with the accomplishments of his career both in Cleburne and other cities and said he thinks of himself as a builder. Nolen cited numerous projects completed or undertaken during his time with the city including Splash Station, the Cleburne Conference Center, improvements to Cleburne Regional Airport, the Sports Complex, the fact that work has begun to improve U.S. 67 and extend Texas 121 from Fort Worth to Cleburne and other projects.

Who will replace Nolen remains to be determined, Mayor Justin Hewlett said.

City leaders will likely use a search committee to help determine a suitable replacement, Hewlett said.

“That Chester has agreed to stay on until January gives us time to figure that out and not have to rush into anything,” Hewlett said. “I know we have several qualified candidates we could promote from within, and I expect we will receive plenty of applications from outside candidates too.”

Nolen hired on with the city in 2001 after a year-long search to replace Joel Victory, who retired as city manager in 2000. Former Cleburne Public Works Director Larry Barkman served as interim city manager during the search process, which involved 88 candidates culminating in six finalists before council members decided on Nolen.

Nolen served 10 years as city manager of Hereford before coming to Cleburne.

Before that, Nolen served as chief administrator of the Harlingen Waterworks System and chief administrator for the city of Bloomfield, N.M.

From 1972 to 1985 Nolen worked for the city of Odessa serving in various capacities including utility office manager, assistant city manager, deputy city manager and acting city manager.

Projects approved

Council members, during the regular meeting, approved Nolen to negotiate a contract with Lyness Construction to construct a recycle drop-off station, to be located at the city’s transfer station. The cost of the center is estimated at about $140,000.

Residents will be able to drop off items such as paper, plastic, cardboard and glass to be recycled once the center becomes operational.

The city has no plans at the present time to pick recyclables up at residents and businesses, said Kim Galvin, budget and purchasing director.

Grant money will fund the entire project, Galvin said.

Council members also approved funding curb and sidewalk repairs around the Market Square in downtown. The project’s cost is estimated at $140,000. Funding will come from $216,000 appropriated for the match fund of a grant involving the Layland Museum that the city applied for but did not receive.

Council members denied a request by Lonestar Collision Inc. to be placed into the rotation list to provide wrecker service for the city. Rick’s Wrecker Service and Prine Towing presently provide such services. Those two companies, council members reasoned, provide sufficient service and availability to the point that there is no current need for a third company.

Hewlett opened the meeting by declaring October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

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