DeSoto City Manager Resigns, Accomplishments Heralded

Dr. Tarron Richardson

DESOTO—After 10 years as City Manager in Desoto, Dr. Tarron Richardson has decided to take a new position in Charlottesville, Virginia. His resignation was officially accepted by the DeSoto City Council during a special meeting Thursday.

The Charlottesville City Council named Richardson the City’s new city manager April 8. Richardson submitted his official letter of resignation the same day to the DeSoto City Council.

In his resignation letter, Richardson highlighted many of the city’s milestones under his administration.

“Throughout this duration of our time, our municipality has experienced an unprecedented wealth of success in terms of its financial health, public services and community marketability,” Richardson said.

Richardson led the city during which time where several accomplishments were realized.

“These achievements were once considered to be overly ambitious and unattainable due to the unfavorable financial position of the city,” Richardson said. “Although it has been extremely challenging to defeat such odds, from the beginning of my tenure as City Manager, I have always remained overwhelmingly focused on making the City of DeSoto an economically viable and sustainable community.”

DeSoto Police Chief Joseph Costa (far right) takes in Saturday morning’s meeting of Concerned DeSoto Citizens while DeSoto City Manager Tarron Richardson answers a resident’s question.

High Praise From DeSoto Mayors

It is no secret that in the council-manager form of government policy makers and actual policy implementers can bump heads. However, Mayor Curtistene McCowan and Former Mayor Carl Sherman Sr have nothing but glowing remarks for their time with Richardson.

“DeSoto has been most fortunate to have Dr. Tarron J. Richardson as our City Manager for all these years. We wish him well in his new role as the City Manager of Charlottesville, Virginia,” said Mayor McCowan. “Through his leadership and his dedication Dr. Richardson has made DeSoto a better city in which to live, work and play. He has made municipal government run more efficiently and operate with greater fiscal responsibility. He has strengthened our workforce, improved service delivery, jumpstarted economic development, enhanced neighborhood safety and boosted the quality of life for all of our residents.”

Former DeSoto Mayor Carl Sherman Sr. turned Hutchins City Manager and now State Representative knows all too well the hardships Richardson shone through.

“Dr. Richardson was promoted from the position of Assistant City Manager to City Manager in 2011 as the first African American appointed to this key position at a critical time of our City’s growth. His appointment proved to be the right choice at the right time,” Sherman muses. “I wish Dr. Richardson the greatest success as he returns to the east coast and takes the helm in Charlottesville, VA. I believe history will repeat itself in that Dr. Richardson will prove to be the right individual to manage the City of Charlottesville through its challenging times.”

This January 2015 file photo of the Concerned DeSoto Citizens monthly meeting featured speaker Dr. Tarron Richardson is updating us on happenings in the city. Join us at the library assembly hall in town center.

Family Ties

Richardson also cited his move as a chance to restore relationships with family and friends. He noted he has placed his work-related responsibilities in front of these relationships.

“It is my hope that I will be able to restore the aforesaid relationships by spending more time with those very important and special individuals,” he said.

Dr. Tarron Richardson visits with members of the Charlottesville City Council after Monday’s press conference announcing his selection as their new city manager.

Final Move

Richardson will remain in his position as City Manager in DeSoto for 30 days per his contract of employment. He will begin his new position on Charlottesville on May 13.

“As this process evolved it became more and more clear that Dr. Richardson was the right person to lead the City of Charlottesville at this important time for our community,” said Heather Hill, Vice Mayor in the City of Charlottesville, VA. “His approach will have him in City employees’ offices and our neighborhoods, getting to know staff and residents directly, while fostering a culture of service to our community.”

No interim city manager has been named for the City of DeSoto at press time.

“While Dr. Richardson has set the bar high for his replacement,” said McCowan. “We will do our best to select a new City Manager who will continue to move our city forward and maintain the growth and positive momentum that DeSoto enjoys and has come to expect.”

Richardson’s Laudables

●Stabilizing property tax rate for four consecutive years from 2012 to 2015
●Reduction in tax rates from 2016 to 2019.
●Restored retirement ratio, increased annual performance incentive programs.
●Two fiscal bond rating upgrades.
●Increased fund balances in the General and Enterprise funds.
●$15 Million-plus in savings due to refinancing of existing debt.
●National and state accreditation awards.
●Educational incentive program for employees with degrees.
●Increased number of police personnel positions.
●Body cameras for the police department.
●Reduction in crime statistics.
●Improved response times for fire and police.
●Funding for Capital Projects that had been unfunded for many years.
●Expansion of existing companies and new economic development in the city.
●Hotel development and a number of public and private partnerships.