Athens City Manager submits letter of resignation

Philip Rodriguez

City Officials verified that Athens City Manager Philip Rodriguez submitted his letter of resignation today.

Rodriguez’s last day will be Sept. 10, according to the letter, which says, “It is now time for me to move on in my journey ….”

Rodriguez was hired in March 2015 to replace Pam Burton, who had stepped down in December 2014.

Below is the text of the letter.


Dear Mayor Montgomery, Mayor Pro-Tem Winn and Councilmembers Clay, McCain and Whatley:

It has been my distinct pleasure and honor to represent you, our employees and this community as your City Manager since March 2015. Together we have successfully restored severely neglected water and wastewater systems, brought much needed financial stability which resulted in a four-tier improvement in the City’s credit rating and established a 60-day financial reserve for the first time in City history. We invested heavily in quality of life amenities like our parks and historic assets such as the Texan, created strategic plans for Athens’ future, significantly increased public safety by funding and hiring new police officers and fire inspectors, abated blighted buildings such as the old hospital, found countless efficiencies that saved our taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest and fees, experienced significant growth and development and ushered in new investment at a pace not seen in decades. We did all of this and more while establishing a truly impressive city staff that is one of the most capable group of professionals and public servants that I have ever worked with. I am extremely proud to have played a key leadership role in our countless successes as a City, and I am grateful for the opportunity.

It is now time to for me to move on in my journey, and as such, I am providing this letter as my notice of resignation as City Manager, effective September 10, 2017. It is my commitment to work with you and our entire Management Team to plan for a smooth transition of projects, initiatives and responsibilities prior to my departure. Knowing this decision will impact the organization, I earnestly encourage you to rely on the members of the Management Team to help lead the way forward. Each member of the Team is a true professional, subject-expert and leader in the organization and community. In particular, I urge you to consider relying heavily on Gary Whittle, Director of Project Management to serve in an Interim City Manager capacity. I am confident that he can assist the City Council as you ensure quality service delivery for the community until such a time that a permanent City Manager can be selected.

Lastly, I wish to thank Mayor Jerry Don Vaught for his consistent support and mentorship during my time in Athens. He, along with a number of dedicated community leaders like yourselves, ignited a resurgence in Athens that set the stage for the City’s greatest days ahead. Thank you for allowing me to serve as City Manager of Athens, and I wish you and the City much success in the future.

In Public Service,
Philip Rodriguez
City Manager

Texan Summer Concert Series presents The Union Revival

The Union Revival

Press release

Looking for something to do this Friday night? Don’t miss the second show of the Texan Summer Concert Series this Friday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Athens Brewing Co. This Friday’s show will open with local favorite, Meredith Crawford, while the main act is a talented husband/wife acoustic folk/americana duo based out of Waco called The Union Revival.

“I am very excited about this performance!” said Cultural Resources Coordinator, Adrianna Hinds. “The first show of The Texan Summer Concert Series in June was a great success. Thank you to everyone who came out! We hope to see you again this Friday night at The Athens Brewing Co. for another great performance!”

Continue reading “Texan Summer Concert Series presents The Union Revival”

Athens ISD provides supplies for elementary students

By Toni Garrard Clay/AISD Communications Coordinator

Hate going back-to-school-supplies shopping? Well, there’s very good news. If your child is entering pre-K through fifth grade at Athens ISD, you won’t have to this year.

As a show of care and support for its students, Athens ISD is providing all the necessary supplies for its elementary students to begin the 2017-2018 school year. Pens, pencils, papers, scissors, glue, erasers, crayons, compositions books, spiral notebooks, etc., will be waiting on pre-K through fifth-graders when they return to school in August. The supplies will be purchased through the use of federal Title 1 funds. Backpacks will made available upon request, through the generosity of the HELP Center.

“This is something we’ve been considering for a while,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Janie Sims. “We believe this will be beneficial to the families we serve, and we’re always looking for ways to support and encourage our community.”

AEDC receives Economic Excellence recognition for second straight year

Press release

For the second year in a row, the Athens Economic Development Corporation has been recognized for Economic Excellence by the Texas Economic Development Council. The 2016 recipients were announced last week at the TEDC’s Mid-Year Conference in Plano.

The objectives of the Economic Excellence Recognition Program are to provide recognition to economic development agencies that meet a threshold of professionalism, encourage professional staff membership and involvement in TEDC. AEDC was one of 33 communities recognized.

Continue reading “AEDC receives Economic Excellence recognition for second straight year”

Pulver wins UIL state speech championship

Michael Pulver

Press release

Athens High School senior Michael Pulver finished his UIL career strong last week when he won the state championship in persuasive speaking. He bested more than 100 other persuasive speakers throughout the state in a year-long season of competition. Previously, Pulver advanced through the district, regional and ultimately the state tournament to win the gold medal.

Pulver is no stranger to success on the AHS Speech and Debate Team, as he also qualified to the regional tournament in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, barely missing the qualification to the UIL State tournament. He did, however, qualify to the Texas Forensics Association State Championship tournament in Lincoln-Douglas debate, domestic speaking, and international speaking — a triple qualification to the state tournament where the squad saw their best performance to date.

Pulver also qualified to the National Tournament in congressional debate, which will make it the second year in a row for him to attend that tournament. He also made an appearance in the top 32 at the University of Texas Invitational Debate Tournament, a highly competitive national competition of debate that features competitors from across the country.

Pulver intends to continue his speech and debate career at the University of North Texas, where he will be debating on scholarship this fall. He is coached by Director of Forensics Carver Hodgkiss and Athens High School Debate Mentor Nicole Cornish. Pulver’s championship makes the third state title this year for the Athens High School Speech and Debate Team, continuing a tradition of excellence for the program.