CORINTH — City Manager Rick Chaffin took the reins earlier this month and says that as he gets comfortable in his new position, he will work to build on the foundation of the previous city manager’s leadership and success.
Chaffin replaces former City Manager Jim Berzina, who said Chaffin has a personality that city officials believe will best mesh with city staff members and the community.
Officials said they are excited to have Chaffin as their new city manager because they feel his leadership will allow the city to keep efforts and goals moving forward at a steady rate without much delay.
Chaffin said one of the advantages of working for Corinth is a great relationship between the council and staff, which he says is important to be successful and was one of the factors that attracted him to the city.
“Hopefully, I can add value to the city and staff,” he said. Two of the reasons he decided to come to the city, he said, were “because I think the city is a good fit and because it has a lot of potential for growth.”
Because Corinth sits along Interstate 35E and is positioned between Denton and Dallas, Chaffin said the city is in a strategic position to attract retail and commercial developers, which would help increase the city’s tax base.
“Residents are the backbone of the community, and by developing our retail and commercial sectors, we can lift some of the tax burden off of them,” he said.
Chaffin also said that one of his goals will be to improve the quality of life throughout the city for residents and businesses.
“I want people to know that I’m very empathetic,” he said. “I’m a homeowner, I have a family and I know the importance of civic engagement. The community can count on me to be a fair person that keeps the community’s interests in mind.”
Chaffin, a self-described tactfully aggressive team player, officially took over earlier this month after the council approved contract agreements in late November.
He served as deputy city manager in McKinney from 2006 to 2012, city manager in Griffin, Ga., from 1998 to 2000 and city manager in Lampasas, near Austin, from 1990 until 1993.
He left his previous position in McKinney after a new city manager was employed by the city and brought in his own management team, which resulted in Chaffin parting ways with the city in a “mutually respectful and civil manner.”
He has a master’s degree in urban affairs from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a bachelor’s of science degree in political science from the University of Texas at Tyler.
According to the city of McKinney’s website, council members praised Chaffin’s work and at one point, he served as the interim city manager.
Corinth officials have said that Chaffin’s personality is what separated him from the rest of the applicants, who each had similar experience levels and expertise.
Berzina said that out of all the candidates, Chaffin appeared to be someone who would make the most seamless transition in the role of city manager.
Berzina also said that Chaffin’s personality and leadership style fit the city well.
“I can promise that I will listen to every resident’s concern and make sure they’re taken into consideration,” he said. “I can’t guarantee that everyone will be happy with certain decisions, but no one will be left out.”
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @Jdharden.