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City promotes planning director to assistant city manager

By Melissa Crowe
March 16, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated March 15, 2012 at 10:16 p.m.

John Kaminski, a 24-year City of Victoria employee, was promoted to assistant city manager on Friday.

Victoria's planning director will take the reins as the new assistant city manager on Saturday, the city announced Friday.

John Kaminski, who has worked with the city 24 years - 14 of them as development services director - will now work with City Manager Charmelle Garrett to provide administrative support to her and the City Council and help manage 12 major city departments.

"I'm looking forward to the new opportunity and the challenges," Kaminski said. "I'm appreciative of the city manager's confidence in me and believing in me."

Kaminski's transition from the development services department to the city manager's office started immediately.

During the transition period, which Kaminski estimates will take about two weeks, he will continue working with development services.

His old position has been posted internally, but a replacement has not been decided, he said.

When the city opened the assistant manager job in February, the goal was to find a forward-thinking team player who could help the city meet its expected growth, Garrett said.

"I wanted somebody who was a strategic thinker and had incredible problem solving skills," Garrett said. Kaminski "has proven it with his 24 years with the city, leading planning and development services."

More than 60 people applied for the assistant city manager position, which has a starting annual salary range of $130,000, according to a news release from the city.

Kaminski's experience combined with his strong character made him a great match, Garrett said.

"He does things with extreme honesty, integrity and dedication," she said. "He strives for excellence in everything he does."

Mayor Will Armstrong commended Garrett's decision.

"I've known John for a long time, and I'm very pleased the city manager saw fit to promote him," Armstrong said. "We have many, many extremely qualified people working for the city, and it's reassuring to know that we have the quality that we can promote from within."

Armstrong said he is optimistic for the city's future.

"The best is yet to come, we have so many wonderful things going on in our community and a great staff to get us there," he said.

Kaminski said his experience with planning and playing different roles within the city are an asset for the promotion.

"We need to be looking forward, looking long-range and strategically to address the challenges that come with those growth opportunities," he said.

Kaminski already is planning his goals with the city, which involve meeting with the departments and learning about their operations and preparing for the budget cycle "from the other side of the table."

Kaminski earned his certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners and has more than 25 years of professional experience, 24 of those years spent with the city.

His career began with the city in 1988 as a planner I and was promoted to various positions in the department until he was named planning director in 1997. He has been director since 1997 and remained director after the Planning Department was renamed to Development Services in 2008.

He graduated magna cum laude from Texas State University with a degree in urban and regional planning.

Kaminski replaces Bruce Ure, who resigned last fall after working as assistant city manager for six months.

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