By Rebecca Rose

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS - Fred Morris, development services director for Belton, has been hired as the new planning and zoning director for Harker Heights.

Patty Brunson, assistant city manager, confirmed Morris' hiring.

"We gave him his offer letter on Aug. 18," she said. "When you give an offer letter, that is confirmation of the hiring."

Morris applied online, via the city's website, Brunson said. The city did not seek him out for the position.

"We looked at his resume," she said. "The position of development services director pretty much mirrors what the planning and development position for Harker Heights requires."

Brunson said Morris will bring expertise to the position.

"He has a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Texas A&M," she said. "Prior to Belton, he worked for the city of Temple. His title was assistant to public works manager/downtown revitalization coordinator."

Brunson said Morris worked for Temple for three years, and before that was the chief planner in Georgetown and a city planner for Killeen.

"I think that Mr. Morris will bring knowledge and some new ideas," she said. "At a time that we are thriving, we want to continue with our team toward that goal.

"We're excited to have (Morris)," she said, "to help us continue providing Harker Heights citizens with what they have grown to expect. I think he will continue in helping us build a team to do that."

Brunson said she spoke with Morris on Thursday and he told her he was looking forward to coming on board with the city. Morris told her he was not currently working and was "getting some things done that he wanted to do between jobs."

Morris was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Brunson said the city received 86 applicants for the position, which was vacant for two months.

Morris replaces Tommy Garcia, who resigned from the position on June 16. Garcia was employed as the planning and development director for Harker Heights since December 2009.

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