Mansfield’s City Manager Retires Abruptly

Mansfield City Manager Clayton Chandler
Clayton Chandler Photo credit: City of Mansfield

Clayton Chandler Leaves A Legacy of Service In Mansfield

Mansfield’s longtime city manager Clayton Chandler announced his retirement at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The Georgia native has served as the city’s city manager since May 1984, overseeing Mansfield’s growth from 8,000 residents to more than 75,000.

Deputy City Manager Joe Smolinski has been named interim city manager. Mayor David Cook said that the council hopes to name a new city manager in the next 90 days. All three deputy city managers – Shelly Lanners, Peter Phillis and Smolinski – have expressed an interest in the position, Cook said. The council also will look outside the city to fill the position, the mayor said.

After the council voted 6-1 to accept Chandler’s immediate retirement, the city manager read a statement via Zoom, addressing city staff, city councils that he has worked with and friends.

“The goal of the team here at the City of Mansfield has been to make a difference in the lives of the residents of this community,” Chandler said. “The changes in this city from when I arrived in 1984 are significant. I am grateful to have been a part of those changes that I believe have been for the betterment of Mansfield. And I am especially proud of the employee organization and all of our accomplishments. These team members are among the best in their respective fields. I am proud to have worked with them and know they will continue to dedicate themselves to the work of this city.”

Chandler said that he did not choose the timing of his retirement.

Mansfield City Council Wanted Management Change

“I had not planned to leave so abruptly, however the city council has determined that now is the best time to make a management change with limited time before elections that occur in November and a last chance to affect changes in management direction as the city begins the budget process and plans for the future,” he said. “Accordingly, I have reached an agreement with council for this transition. I have agreed to be available through for consultation until the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30. I love this city so much. As long as I am alive, I will everything I can to help this city.

“The budget will be challenging once again this year,” Chandler said. “Tax reform and benefits are already a major topic of discussion again. At this time I do not know what will be the decision of the council over a number of critical issues.It was a source of challenge in the last year and sparked debates with management over the desire of some members of city council to implement benefit changes and increase homestead exemptions.”

“Mansfield has been extremely fortunate to have Clayton Chandler as its city manager,” Cook said. “He served this city at a critical time in its history. His knowledge and expertise were key in guiding us through explosive growth and economic challenges. Our city is one of the Best Places to Live because of him and the team he assembled. We wish Mr. Chandler and his family all the best in his retirement and thank him for his service to this community.”

Instrumental In Mansfield’s Growth

Under Chandler’s management, Mansfield has been recognized by the top analysts in the country for management excellence and stability and the city holds a AAA bond rating.

Chandler was instrumental in the formation of the Mansfield Economic Development Corporation and the Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corporation.

In 2004, the Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corporation renamed the park on North Walnut Creek Drive Clayton W. Chandler Park in honor of his service to the community. As a result of his extensive work in bringing a hospital to the city, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center named its emergency room for Chandler, recognizing those efforts and for serving on its advisory board.