On a short stroll down memory lane, Seguin’s outgoing city manager fondly recalled stories of his earlier days in public service and the people who helped him help area cities achieve a lot.
There were colleagues and employees, those he hired and those who Doug Faseler admired during his years in Midland, Live Oak and Seguin. But he acknowledged the one person without whom any of it could have been possible.
“I look back on 30 years,” Faseler said, seemingly fighting back tears as his voice appeared to crack. “I couldn’t have done it without (my wife) Laura.”
After beginning his service to Seguin in 1996, Faseler is calling quits behind 14 years as the city’s longest-serving city manager since a council-manager form of government was adopted here in 1986.
On Thursday, a large gathering of friends and well wishers hoping to bid a fond farewell to Faseler greeted him at a reception in his honor held at the Seguin Public Library. From current city council members to former co-workers, city and county civil servants and more, the event goers were all smiles as they mingled, reminisced and shared memories of a stalwart of Seguin for several years.
“We’re going to miss him a lot,” Seguin Mayor Don Keil said. “I’ve been in city government 13 years. He’s the only city manager I’ve known.”
Faseler has worked as city manager here longer than anybody else ever, the mayor said. But he’s also worked as a city manager longer than most do in other cities across Texas, Keil said.
“I know for a fact we are very, very fortunate to have Doug,” he said. “City managers in Texas, if you’ve been in a seat five years, you’re a long-timer.
“So many things, including this building we’re in, wouldn’t have been done without Doug.”
One of those things that wouldn’t have been done could be his own hiring for a position in which he had no prior experience, Seguin Fire Chief Dale Skinner said.
The chief expressed his gratitude to Faseler for taking a chance on him years ago. Faseler saw something in him and took a chance for which he is forever grateful, Skinner said.
“I’m very thankful for Doug giving me an opportunity because I didn’t have any experience as a fire chief,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot of things under his leadership and guidance. He’ll be missed.”
Her tenure at the Seguin Chamber of Commerce a couple years earlier than Faseler’s at the city of Seguin, Chamber President Kendy Gravett has witnessed the city manager’s leadership and guidance.
Gravett has spent 16 years at the chamber and in that time, she said, Faseler has done good by the city and its business owners.
“He has helped the member businesses in the chamber,” Gravett said. “Therefore, he has helped the community grow. I feel he has done a great job in his position in moving this community forward.”
Part of helping the community grow has meant building relationships and finding ways to funnel money into Seguin. Faseler has done both over recent years by working with U.S. Congressman Vicente Gonzales, said Robert Herrera, a constituent field representative for Herrera’s office.
Faseler visits Gonzales — who represents Texas’ 15th District — when the city manager is in Washington. The results are usually good for the city, Herrera said.
“They talk CDBG funds and any kinds of grants,” he said. “They’re always in need of the monies that belong to the citizens. If they don’t claim them, they’ll go to someone else.”
Herrera presented Faseler one of several gifts the soon-to-be retiree received on the night. It was a United States flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol.
Seguin Public Works Director John Donnelly presented Faseler with a huge street sign with the city manager’s name emblazoned on it. State Rep. John Kuempel, a representative from State Sen. Donna Campbell’s office and others gave him an assortment of gifts.
Keil, on behalf of city council, presented Faseler with a six pack assortment of Texas whiskey. All did so with well wishes for Faseler to ride off into the sunset knowing he is appreciated for all he’s done for Seguin and beyond.
“I’ve been in local government for 38 years,” Faseler said. “I’ve been here in Seguin 24 years. I’m going to take a break and not commit to anything for 12 months or so.”
No matter what his next move is — and Faseler, if he knows, certainly isn’t telling — he’s confident he’s leaving Seguin in a good place leaving with a clear conscience that the city will do well without him.
“Seguin’s going in a great, great direction,” he said. “It’s a great time to leave with all the development coming here.”