0

City Manager Horton to retire next year

Steve Horton stands outside Covington City Hall, his home away from home, shortly after being appointed city manager in 2005.

Steve Horton stands outside Covington City Hall, his home away from home, shortly after being appointed city manager in 2005.

COVINGTON -- City Manager Steve Horton announced he plans to retire in about a year at Monday night's City Council meeting.

Horton said he has health issues that motivated the decision. He said he wanted to give the council plenty of notice to find his replacement.

He added that the decision has nothing to do with the upcoming municipal elections.

"I wish everybody the best in the future and whoever prevails in the election, I look forward to working with you," he said.

"It's a sad day in the city," said Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams.

"It's just another chapter," Horton replied.

Horton said he's had "a grand time" during his 35 years as a city employee. He was appointed city manager in 2005 after having served as both public works director and deputy city manager.

Horton started his career with the city in the Covington Police Department, where he worked his way up through the ranks over the course of 12 years. In the late '80s, Horton decided to switch career gears, and went to work as a lineman in the city's Electric Department.

In hopes of moving into upper management with the city, Horton attended night school while working in the Electric Department, eventually earning an undergraduate degree in business from Mercer University.

In 1993 he switched jobs again, accepting a position as the city's safety risk manager.

Soon after, Police Chief Bob Moody left the force and recommended Horton serve as interim chief. Horton held that position for a year and a half, but left in 1997 to become the city's public works director.

The position "gave me the opportunity to learn more about government than I could have in any other aspect of the city," Horton previously told the Citizen.

It also gave him the opportunity to work with then City Manager Frank Turner on a daily basis. Turner "pulled me under his wing," Horton said. "He opened his mind and his heart to me and poured everything he could on me. I got up every day ready to come here ... Every day, I said what can I learn today, not only to make me a better employee, but to make a better community."

Turner eventually appointed Horton as deputy city manager, and recommended Horton for the city manager's position upon his retirement.