City man­ager hon­ored by col­league and ci­ti­zens

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

Ci­ti­zens, fam­ily and friends gath­ered at city hall on Mon­day night to honor Cov­ing­ton City Man­ager Steve Hor­ton as he at­tended his last coun­cil meet­ing as city man­ager.

Former Mayor Kim Carter read through Hor­ton’s ac­com­plish­ments and his years of ser­vice with the city.

“I’m here as a cit­i­zen and former co-worker to of­fer my thanks and the com­mu­nity’s thanks for a job well done,” Carter said. “For more than 34 years and 10 months Steve Hor­ton has been a de­voted pub­lic ser­vant for all the peo­ple of Cov­ing­ton. He’s been the voice of ex­pe­ri­ence and the il­lu­mi­nat­ing light for three may­ors dur­ing his ten­ure as a city man­ager for the city of Cov­ing­ton.”

Carter told the coun­cil that be­fore Hor­ton was city man­ager he led the city for­ward in mul­ti­ple roles and has al­ways given sin­cere, fa­therly guid­ance to gen­er­a­tions of city em­ploy­ees.

He be­gan his ca­reer with the city of Cov­ing­ton on Feb. 9, 1978 as a pa­trol of­fi­cer in the po­lice de­part­ment. Dur­ing that time he met his wife Mary Thom­son Hor­ton. Dur­ing the next 10 years of ser­vice Hor­ton served as an in­ves­ti­ga­tor and was pro­moted to both sergeant and lieu­tenant.

On Nov. 3, 1988, Hor­ton trans­ferred to the elec­tric de­part­ment to work as a line worker un­til Dec. 1, 1993, when he was

pro­moted and be­came the city of Cov­ing­ton’s first Safety/Risk Man­ager.

In June of 1996, upon the re­tire­ment of the po­lice chief, Hor­ton was again pro­moted to serve as the in­terim po­lice chief, with his per­ma­nent ap­point­ment be­ing made on Sept. 30, 1996. On Sept. 4, 1997, Hor­ton ap­plied for and was ap­pointed as the pub­lic works di­rec­tor for the city, where he served as the right-hand-man to former city man­ager Frank Turner.

On Dec. 2, 2005, Turner re­tired as city man­ager and rec­om­mended Hor­ton to be his re­place­ment, and the mayor and the coun­cil ap­proved.

“He’s re­mark­able in per­form­ing his job. He can find the mid­dle ground in sit­u­a­tions that you would think were near im­pos­si­ble,” Carter said. “He’s risen through the ranks of his 34-plus ca­reer al­ways to lev­els of in­creas­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Af­ter heart felt words were shared by Carter, the coun­cil cham­bers were filled with a round of ap­plause from the au­di­ence for Hor­ton. Dur­ing the coun­cil com­ments por­tion of the meet­ing, coun­cil mem­bers ex­pressed their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Hor­ton.

“I want to thank you, Steve, for what you have done and thank you for help­ing me through my ten­ure here also,” Coun­cil­man Chris Smith said.

“Steve, you are a fix­ture around here, and it’s go­ing to be hard to think about try­ing to go through the con­cerns and prob­lems we have with- out coming and talk­ing to you about it,” Coun­cil­woman Hawnethia Wil­liams said.

“Thank you for be­ing a men­tor; thank you for be­ing a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of how you are sup­posed to rep­re­sent your­self as a gen­tle­man and as a man,” Coun­cil­man Keith Dal­ton said.

“You are my friend and you will al­ways be my friend,” Coun­cil­woman Ocie Franklin said.

“I al­ways judge peo­ple in the depth-of-the-man type stuff and the depth of this man just blows me away per­son­ally,” Mayor Ron­nie John­ston said. “I had the op­por­tu­nity to watch you work for about a year, and I’ve watched you in­ter­act with peo­ple and with ci­ti­zens and even how you have in­ter­acted with me.

“In many ways he’s been like a fa­ther fig­ure to me—mat­ter fact there have been a few meet­ings where he put me in my place, but he did it re­spect­fully,” John­ston joked. “I just want to per­son­ally thank you for ev­ery­thing that you have done.”

Dur­ing his city man­ager report, Hor­ton gave a tear­ful thank you to his wife, fam­ily, col­leagues and ci­ti­zens.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate ev­ery­thing that was done and said about me tonight. When I started work­ing for the city 35 years ago, I could have never imag­ined that I would be where I’d end up at to­day,” Hor­ton said. “I don’t know what it’s go­ing to be like with me be­ing re­tired or what­ever comes with it, but I am go­ing to take it one day at a time and trust in the good Lord that it will all pan out the way that ev­ery­thing else has.”

Hor­ton will re­tire on Dec. 21.

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