Behind the various departments and city projects is a city manager — a person who holds many roles and responsibilities. In Seguin, that’s Doug Faseler.
Faseler first came to the city more than 20 years ago as the director of utilities and public works before moving up the ranks to assistant city manager in four months.
In 2006, Faseler was appointed as city manager, taking over for Jack Hamlett, who had the position before him.
The general role of a city manager is to oversee the day-to-day operations of a community, whether it’s implementing an annual budget, or carrying out policies approved by city council.
However, what sets Faseler’s role apart from a typical city manager in other communities is the challenge of Seguin being a full-service city.
“We provide all of the city services — your traditional police (department), fire (department), public works, parks and recreation,” he said. “We have things that other cities may not necessarily have.”
Additionally, Seguin provides its own utilities, which Faseler is also charged with overseeing aside from the other daily operations.
“We have a water system, wastewater system, we operate wastewater treatment plants as well as our operations with the Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corporation and then our electric system,” he said. “Not a lot of cities have their own electric systems. We’re truly a full-service city.”
Many communities may own their own utilities, but operate them separately, Faseler said.
“In other communities, you may have the city manager over the traditional city departments and services,” he said. “They may operate with a separate general manager over their electric, water and wastewater. Here, we don’t operate that way. All of the utilities and traditional services fall under my direction. I’m responsible for them.”
Typically, a general manager operates the utilities, while the city manager doesn’t, Faseler said.
“In our situation, we just have the city manager,” he said. “I have one assistant and then, of course, all of the directors of the various departments. Some cities operate with a city manager, a deputy city manager and one or two assistant city managers. We try to operate pretty lean in that area.”
In some instances, cities contract out their services, such as in Live Oak, where Faseler served as the city manager before coming to Seguin, he said.
“I was in Live Oak for 13 years and one of the big differences there is you contract out for a lot of things,” he said. “Our wastewater treatment was contracted out with the San Antonio River Authority. So, while we had a collection system, we weren’t responsible for treating it. For the electric, we didn’t have our own electric system, we had a franchise and we were serviced by CPS Energy. A lot of those high demand services we just contracted out for.”
For the last 12 years as city manager, Faseler’s salary has increased each time during his annual review because of the several roles he takes on.
When appointed city manager, Faseler was given a base salary of $123,679. He now earns $243,659.55 following his recent annual review.
San Marcos city manager Bert Lumbreras earns $255,000 for a population of 61,980 residents while Schertz’s interim manager, Brian James, who took over the remaining of John Kessel’s term in January, brings in $174,476 for a population of 39,453, the United States Census Bureau said.
Lockhart city manager Vance Rodgers collects $129,524.46 for a population of about 13,527.
When Faseler joined the city in 1996, Seguin’s population was at about 23,000.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2016, the city sat just under 30,000 with a population of 28,614.
During his 22-year span, Faseler said he’s witnessed Seguin develop into a regional presence.
“While I’ll say we’re a standalone city, I think with that growth we’ve become more of a regional presence,” he said. “For instance, we joined the AAMPO, the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization in Bexar County a couple of years ago. We’ve been able to benefit from funding for road projects. We’ve developed a relationship with CPS Energy when they purchased the Rio Nogales Power plant in Seguin. Now they are our wholesale power supplier. We discontinued a 50-plus year relationship that we had with LCRA with the supply of our wholesale electric power and so that was a big change.”
Seguin also partnered with Schertz for the Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corporation for a regional water supply, Faseler said.
“We’ve become more of a regional player then what we were 20 years ago,” Faseler said. “Also, during this time we’ve had a growth in the way of jobs in manufacturing. We have Caterpillar, Continental, Minigrip and Alamo Group … These are companies that have a global presence operating here in Seguin.”
One large project Faseler played a role in was the recent opening of the new Utility Operation Center, 3027 N. Austin St.
“We operated our utility operations and our purchasing department for years out of the old utility warehouse by the Seguin Events Complex where the rodeo area is,” Faseler said. “It’s an old facility and so we were needing additional space and also enhancements to technology. Our IT Department was operating in a very small space in the Annex. We outgrew those facilities and they were outdated. So we planned over several years what their needs were in order to provide a good work environment, but also where we could help our citizens more efficiently.”
Faseler said the city’s growth and age is one of the reasons for the ongoing projects throughout the community.
“One thing different from many communities in the area is that Seguin is 188-year-old-city,” he said. “With that, we have a very old aged infrastructure with the water lines, sewer lines and streets. So a lot of the projects you see going on in the community is in response to that. It’s time to upgrade those lines. The old lines are made out of clay. They break and become brittle and separate.”
While it’s a long process and a lot of work, Faseler said his staff enjoys taking these tasks on.
“That sets us apart from a lot of suburban communities that are made up of a few subdivisions,” he said. “They won’t have to deal with those types of projects for many years.”