Water employees deserve our appreciation

On Sept. 11, the City of San Angelo experienced a significant water main break that was especially troublesome to locate and repair because of its isolated location. Two water towers were depleted, causing the water system in south San Angelo to quickly lose pressure. This loss in pressure necessitated the issuance of a citywide boil-water notice as a measure to keep citizens safe from potential water contaminants. 

Through the whole ordeal, employees from the City’s Water Utilities and Operations departments worked closely together to quickly make the necessary repairs, while ensuring all citizens still had access to water in their homes. They worked long hours away from family in what can only be described as difficult, swamp-like conditions, while at the same time working to re-pressurize the water system.  

Once the system was pressurized, samples could be taken and tested to ensure the safety of our water. These samples were submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for its approval to lift the boil-water requirement. All of this was completed by Sept. 13.

Considering all these challenges, this was a quick turnaround on the repairs and a speedy return to normal operations.

Needless to say, we are very proud of the staff and their performance.

What I found most troubling were those individuals in our community who were quick to place blame on these very workers – somehow faulting them for this water main break. I can assure you all cities across the country are faced with similar circumstances at one time or another. No municipality can guarantee its water system will never experience a significant water leak. 

As an Army veteran, I know what it is to raise my right hand and swear to defend and protect this country, much like our police officers and firefighters swear to protect this fine city. So I value and have great appreciation for these officers and firefighters.  However, often, these are the only City employees who receive strong support from our community. 

Our non-civil service employees deserve as much support and appreciation. As evidenced by the events of Sept. 11-13, where would we be without these dedicated and loyal employees? Without water, that’s where.

These hard-working staff members are humble and do their jobs quietly without much notice or recognition. Many of them would shy away from the notion of being called more important than any other group of employees, but during this episode they were definitely the most important servants to this community!

The City often recognizes and applauds the effort of its first-responders in the police and fire departments, but rarely are the non-civil servant employees who are also first-responders recognized. These are the same groups of employees who quickly and efficiently came to the aide of this community to ensure that no one would go without water. During storms, these same staff members are the first to respond to set up barriers at dangerous intersections, to clear hazardous debris from streets, to make immediate repairs to damaged infrastructure to restore services, and to even guide stranded motorist to safety.

For those who were critical of our public servants in Water Utilities and Operations, it’s my sincere hope you will express appreciation to these staff members – pat them on the back and tell them, “Job well done!”

Daniel Valenzuela is the city manager of the City of San Angelo. Contact him at 325-657-4241 or daniel.valenzuela@cosatx.us.

State of the City 2018

The City Manager serves as the chief executive officer for San Angelo's municipal government and is the staff liaison to the City Council and to the Downtown Development Commission.

Daniel Valenzuela, City Manager

Daniel Valenzuela was hired as San Angelo's City Manager in September 2012. He previously served four years as city manager in Eagle Pass, and the four years prior to that as city manager of Fort Stockton, his hometown. He was the chief financial officer and unit health administrator at Pecos County Memorial Hospital from 2000-03. He earned a master's of business administration from Texas Tech University in 2000 and served in the U.S. Army.

Michael Dane, Assistant City Manager

Michael T. Dane was  promoted to  Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer in October 2012 following a nine-month stint as interim city manager. He was hired as the City’s Finance Director in August 1998 and is regional co-director of the Government Finance Officers Association of Texas and an advisory board member for the Texas Municipal Retirement System. Dane worked for the City of Lubbock as an Accountant, Senior Accountant and Senior Auditor from 1993-98, the First National Bank of Clovis in Clovis, N.M., from 1987-90, and the accounting firm of Bender, Burnett & Co. in Clovis from 1990-93. A Certified Public Accountant and Certified Government Finance Officer, he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from Eastern New Mexico University.  

Rick Weise, Assistant City Manager

Rick Weise was named Assistant City Manager in March 2005 after serving as the Assistant to the City Manager since October 1998. He joined the City of San Angelo as a Planner in June 1994. Weise is a 1993 graduate of Texas A&M University, is designated as a Certified Public Manager through Texas Tech University, and is certified by the Texas Division of Emergency Management as an Advanced Incident Commander. He is a member of the Texas City Management Association, the International City Management Association, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the Texas Recreation and Parks Society, having served on that organization's state board of directors.

Becky Dunn, Executive Office Coordinator 

Becky Dunn was promoted to Executive Office Coordinator in January 2013. She is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the day-to-day administrative operations of the City Manager’s Office. Dunn joined the City in 1993 as a clerk typist in the Police Department’s Administration Division. She worked in Police Administration for 14 years, also serving as a bookkeeper and administrative technician. She transferred in 2007 to the Finance Department, where she worked as an accounting technician, an accounting specialist and senior administrative assistant prior to her move to the City Manager’s Office.

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