When City Manager Steve Carpenter arrived in Harker Heights, the only things off U.S. Highway 190 were Mickey’s Chevron gas station, the Extraco Bank building and the Indian Trail Plaza.

Harker Heights has changed a great deal since he first manned the post in 1994, and after 40 years of working in municipal government, Carpenter announced his retirement last week.

“There comes a time when you need to try other things,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter, 66, gave his 90-day notice Sept. 9 in a letter to the mayor and council members.

“It has been my pleasure to work with you, our staff and citizens to improve the city over the last 19 plus years,” the letter stated. “I have been truly blessed during my time here working for the city.”

Carpenter said he plans to stay in Harker Heights and will be an advocate for the city and help find a suitable replacement to pick up where he leaves off.

“He’s the reason why I wanted to be the mayor,” Mayor Mike Aycock said. “We hate to see him go and will miss his leadership tremendously.”

The Harker Heights City Council held a closed meeting Tuesday to discuss the appointment of a new city manager.

“I have no doubt that we can hire an excellent city manager to continue and improve the city. I truly will miss you and do appreciate what you and other councils have accomplished,” Carpenter’s letter stated. “You have an excellent staff that will continue the strong culture that has been created.”

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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