After two years of service in the city of Denison, Development Services Director Gabe Reaume announced he will be leaving Denison to become the new city manager for the city of Saginaw. Reaume, who started with the city in 2015, submitted his letter of resignation last week, with his final day scheduled for Dec. 27.
In a phone interview Friday, Reaume said it has always been his life’s ambition to serve the public and become a city manager.
“I am not lying when I say I’ve dreamed about this for the past ten years,” Reaume said. “It still feels kind of surreal to look down at a contract for city manager and to see my name.”
Reaume said for the past two years he has driven each day to Denison from his home in Denton where he first got his start volunteering with the city. As his wife serves as the city manager in the city of Justin, Denton was a natural choice for the family.
With the move to Saginaw, Reaume said the family will relocate to the city. The change will greatly reduce his travel time while his wife’s travel will remain mostly unchanged.
“A city that we can make both of our careers work in doesn’t come around too often,” he said.
The opportunity to move up to a city manager position presented itself in June, Reaume said. In describing Saginaw, which is located just north of Fort Worth, Reaume said it has many similarities to Denison. The city of about 22,500 is of similar size to Denison, has good schools and is poised for growth with the expansion of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Like Denison, the city is also looking to pursue projects that will increase quality of life in the small city, he said.
While interviewing for the position, Reaume said Saginaw officials were interested in his work with Denison’s housing programs and a Section 108 loan that the city recently used to acquire funds for needed street repairs and improvements.
Through this program, which allowed the city to use its annual funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant program to repay the loan over the next decade. Through this and additional funding from the city, Denison was able to invest more than $2 million in road infrastructure this year.
“I know no one gets real excited about streets, but that project will have an impact for years to come,” Reaume said.
During his time with the city, Reaume also helped create the city’s housing task force, which oversaw efforts to invest and reinforce the city’s aging housing stock. These two projects were among the accomplishments Reaume said he is proudest of.
“Really, I think what Gabe has done is help push us through some important initiatives for the city,” City Manager Jud Rex said, noting that Reaume served on one of the city’s leadership team.
As the city looks for a replacement to fill Reaume’s vacancy, Rex said Rod Hogan will serve as the interim development services director. Hogan, who worked with the city of Plano for 35 years, previously served as the interim city manager for Denison from November 2015 through March 2016. This allowed Rex time to transition as he took the helm as Denison’s city manager.
Rex added that the city has always contracted with Strategic Government Resources, who also recently helped recruit Ken Higdon as the new Denison Area Chamber of Commerce president, to find a new candidate. Rex said this search will not exclude current city employees and an internal promotion is possible.