Herald/CATRINA RAWSON - David Mitchell, Harker Heights’ planning and development director, is leaving his position to become the assistant city manager in Hutto.

By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS – Never once during his almost six years working for the city did David Mitchell wake up in the morning and think to himself, "I don't want to go to work for the city today."

Mitchell has served as a city planner, a city assistant administrator and is currently the director of planning and development until Sept. 4, when he becomes the assistant city manager in Hutto.

"I hate to lose David, because he has done so many good things, and still has a lot he could do ... but I am proud that he has done so well for himself," said City Manager Steve Carpenter.

Mitchell's leaving is not a surprise to Carpenter, he said. Mitchell was also expected to grow, and he has planned on becoming a city manager since a short time after he started at Harker Heights.

"It is kind of like this is a graduation, because now he is getting to become one," Carpenter said.

While Mitchell is excited about his new job in Hutto, he will miss Harker Heights, he said.

"I could spend all day telling what I will miss here," Mitchell said. "I am passionate about this place. I am not leaving because I don't like it."

Harker Heights has prepared him very well for the challenges that he is expecting to have in Hutto, he said.

Much like the Harker Heights positions, the Hutto position will grow and stretch him, Mitchell said.

Hutto is addressing issues with growth just like Harker Heights has, but Hutto was ranked among the fastest growing cities in the state, Mitchell said.

Mitchell's main role in Hutto will be support Hutto's city manager, he said.

"Probably the biggest thing for me is to support the city manger there, and help set the priorities of the city, especially with the quality of life issues," Mitchell said. "I am very comfortable with the community development part, it's not too far from what I was doing here."

Filling Mitchell's position will take some time, about two to three months at least, but the city will manage until it finds the right person to take his place, Carpenter said.

"We have already started advertising for it," Carpenter said. "The person will have to have experience, and we will be sure that they will fit in our organization."

Until the position is full, Carpenter will work on the planning and development department to see where it could be improved, he said.

"We will spend the period looking at our strengths and weaknesses and work on them ... and it will give our two planners a chance to get more experience," Carpenter said.

The experiences given to Mitchell while he was a planner are what made him grow, Mitchell said.

"I would not have been a success had I not had Steve Carpenter and Ray Shanaa (a former Harker Heights director of planning and development) there. They have pushed me and made me great by giving me opportunities."

Contact Mason W. Canales at mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7554.

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