When someone referred to Brownwood’s new city manager as “Mister Rountree” Tuesday morning at City Hall, the moniker spawned a friendly correction.
“I’m not ‘Mister Rountree.’ I’m ‘Bobby,’” Rountree called out as he began his second day on the job.
After Brownwood City Council members chose him last month as city manager, Rountree said he expects to be addressed as “Bobby.”
He’s not much on “pomp and circumstance,” Rountree explained Tuesday.
“I’m really happy to be here,” Rountree said — an obligatory statement, perhaps, for the new guy, but a statement that Rountree says with obvious sincerity.
Rountree stayed busy Monday, his inaugural day, meeting with department heads and division directors. He said it was a good day, and he likes what he’s seen: “quality professional people” who work for the city and provide city services.
Rountree said he is setting up times to go visit city facilities and meet the people who staff them.
He cited other positives: the city’s location as a regional “hub,” the school system, Howard Payne University, the industrial base, “just the community itself.”
Rountree listed a few of the pressing issues facing the city, including streets, police staffing and dilapidated structures. He said those issues are addressed in the budget for the new fiscal year.
“Quite frankly, everything’s a hot issue for me right now,” Rountree said.
He wants to have a salary survey conducted to determine how Brownwood compares to similar-sized cities in terms of employee pay. That could be done either “in-house” or by hiring a consultant, Rountree said.
He wrote out a brief list of “immediate objectives” on a legal pad:
Provide positive leadership for the organization.
“That falls on my shoulders,” Rountree said. The turnover of city managers and city council members has been difficult on city staff, and his goal is to bring stability, Rountree said.
Provide cost-effective, quality city services for Brownwood residents.
He said he challenged city staff Monday to “look at what we’re doing and how we do things.”
Do what he can to help grow and strengthen the Brownwood economy.
He said his goal is to work with the Brownwood Economic Development Corp. and the Chamber of Commerce and “do what we can to grow the economy.”
Help develop a vision/plan of what Brownwood will be like in the next 10-20 years.
Rountree repeated what he told council members when they interviewed him for the job: he doesn’t have a magic wand and he can’t solve all the problems.
But “I’m a very positive person,” Rountree said. “I talked (Monday) about attitudes: if you don’t like where you’re at, it’s a big old world.”
Rountree, 58, was working as city manager in Goldthwaite, where he grew up, when Brownwood council members unanimously chose him last month as Brownwood city manager. He previously worked as city manager in Baytown, a city with 65,000 residents, a $50 million budget and 550 employees.
He said earlier that he and his wife, Jana, were high school sweethearts in Goldthwaite. They have a son who lives in Austin and a daughter who lives in Mansfield, and one grandson.