The Sherman City Council said goodbye to longtime engineering mainstay Clay Barnett Monday at the end of his last meeting as a member of the city’s staff.
Barnett, who has served as the city’s director of public works and engineering for the last three years, recently accepted a job with Grayson County to be the county engineer and the director of the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization.
“Clay has really made a mark on the city during his time here,” Mayor David Plyler said. “He’s had his hands in dozens of engineering projects, big and small. He also was instrumental in the Loy Lake bridge expansion. That couldn’t have happened without your leadership Clay, thank you for that. That’s been really a positive thing for our city.”
Barnett was picked from a pool of 16 applicants for the county engineer position. When his hiring was approved by the Grayson County Commissioners Court last month, County Judge Bill Magers explained Barnett was chosen because the county needed a professional engineer and someone with the kind of administrative experience that would be able to run an organization like the SDMPO. Magers previously worked with Barnett during the former’s tenure as mayor of Sherman when the latter was city engineer.
“Thank you for all you’ve done and I know you’re going to continue doing great things as we work together at the county,” Plyler said.
Following Plyler’s remarks, the council and audience gave Barnett a round of applause.
“I really appreciate your kind words mayor,” Barnett said. “I’ve been very humbled to work for the city of Sherman these past five years and look forward to continuing our relationship over at the county.”
The SDMPO and the county are planning to split the cost of Barnett’s salary. Under the interlocal agreement between the two, the SDMPO will provide up to $80,000 toward the salary and benefits of its new director and county engineer, with the county providing the remaining half. Since the SDMPO is financed using federal funds, Magers previously said Grayson county taxpayers will effectively be getting an engineer for half the price.
Barnett’s position will replace Karl Welzenbach, the previous SDMPO director, who stepped down in September to pursue an MPO position in Oregon. Barnett said he’ll begin at the county near the beginning of next month.