Former Arlington city manager Campbell takes interim role in Kennedale

Former Arlington City Manager George Campbell was hired Tuesday as Kennedale’s interim city manager.
Former Arlington City Manager George Campbell was hired Tuesday as Kennedale’s interim city manager. George Campbell

Retired Arlington City Manager George Campbell was hired Tuesday as Kennedale’s interim city manager after serving 10 years as Denton’s top administrator.

The Kennedale City Council voted unanimously to have Campbell run the government while it conducts a nationwide search to replace Bob Hart, who is leaving Friday for the same position at the city of Corinth in Denton County.

Kennedale officials said Campbell is in the running for the permanent position.

After retiring as Arlington’s city manager in 1998, citing health concerns, Campbell went to work as city manager for Weatherford in 2002 and became Denton’s city manager in 2006. Before Arlington, Campbell also served an earlier stint as Weatherford’s city manager and a term as Coppell’s city manager, his first.

Campbell said his very first role in local government was as a firefighter in Midland.

“All of my experience has been in local government, but the last 40 years or so has been in city management,” said Campbell, 72, who lives in Arlington.

Most recently, he finished several months as interim city administrator in Dalworthington Gardens, where he helped find and train a permanent city administrator who starts on Feb. 1, he said.

Campbell’s departure from Denton was not without controversy. He resigned last summer after the City Council voted 4-3 for a “notice of nonrenewal” of his contract, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Kennedale Mayor Brian Johnson said his council colleagues were not concerned and dismissed Campbell’s friction in Denton as political baggage that comes with any long-term government management job.

“We’re real excited at having somebody like George on board,” Johnson said, adding he hopes to get Campbell on the job next week. “We’ve got a lot of issues, and that guy’s got experience. I’ve talked to city managers around the area, and they say things like ‘integrity’ and “He’ll move your city along.’ That’s what we’re looking for.”

The Record-Chronicle reported on June 22 that council members who voted against renewing Campbell’s contract did not explain their reasons.

But the council voted unanimously for a separation agreement that paid him a $376,300 lump sum severance and $89,642 to serve roughly the following three months as a consultant to the next interim city manager, who had not been named at the time, according to the newspaper.

Campbell said the discord mostly stemmed from controversial state legislation on gas drilling and fracking pushed by the city of Denton, and various related issues.

“We parted friends,” he said. “My contract was up. I have no bitter feelings about that, and I hope they don’t.”

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Robert Cadwallader: 817-390-7186, @Kaddmann_ST