After four years of service to the community, Denison City Manager Robert Hanna, who oversaw the city during a time of change both internally and externally, announced he will be stepping down from leadership in Denison in May. Hanna announced Sunday that he has accepted the position of city manager for the city of Abilene, starting on May 18.

After four years of service to the community, Denison City Manager Robert Hanna, who oversaw the city during a time of change both internally and externally, announced he will be stepping down from leadership in Denison in May. Hanna announced Sunday that he has accepted the position of city manager for the city of Abilene, starting on May 18.


Under Hanna’s leadership, the city saw the completion of the Hilton Garden Inn and Texoma Event Center, the opening of the Southside Fire Station and the annexation of more than 3,000 acres of land on Lake Texoma, among other major projects. Internally, Hanna worked to restructure several departments and filled several key staff positions within the city.


"We are very proud of Robert and wish him and his family well on this new opportunity," Denison Mayor Jared Johnson said. "He has done a remarkable job in helping lead our organization through a period of very fast-paced change. He has been instrumental in improving how the city provides services to our community and has played a vital role in the economic development successes over the last few years."


In recent weeks, the City Council has been in discussions regarding Hanna’s annual evaluation. During this time Hanna told the Council that he was a finalist for the position in Abilene. On Friday, officials with Abilene called to tell Hanna he was chosen for the job.


Moving forward, Johnson said, the city will be exploring its options for filling Hanna’s position. The Council is expected to discuss its options during a meeting on April 20. Johnson said it is customary for the city to hire a recruiting firm to fill positions of this level, but no decisions on which direction the city will go have been made.


"Obviously we have big shoes to fill," Johnson said.


For his part, Hanna said he was most proud of the internal reforms he was able to make in the way the city is structured. Hanna said he made strives to make Denison a city that "was more willing to say yes," and work with residents on ideas and plans for development while developing a team mentality within the city.


"I really am just one person and it took a team to get us where we are," Hanna said.


Hanna said he is confident the city will continue down the path it is has followed over the past four years to great success, regardless of who may take his position in the future.


"I think (the city) believes in where they are going and I have no doubt that whoever sits in that chair next will bring their own thumbprint to the organization, as they should." Hanna said. "They are going to find a city on a good trajectory and they are going to want to keep it there."


"The community is well positioned to move forward, and we have a great team in place to continue to work to make Denison a place where people want to live and to have their business," Johnson said.