City manager retires

Constance Atton I Lariat Photographer
Constance Atton I Lariat Photographer

By Rebecca Fiedler
Staff Writer

Larry Groth’s last day as Waco city manager will be Saturday, as he is retiring after 10 years of service in the position. His seat is now going to Dale Fisseler, the current deputy city manager. Citizens of Waco gathered Wednesday in the Waco Convention Center for a reception to eat, drink and celebrate memories of Groth’s time working with the city.

Waco creates and executes laws through a council-manager form of government, in which a city council is elected by citizens, and the mayor and city manager are appointed by this council.

The job of the city manager is to oversee the city council’s budget and oversee the departments of finance and municipal information, budget/internal audit and general administration. The city manager establishes relationships between the city of Waco and organizations, businesses and schools.

Groth said he chose to retire because he wants to spend more time with his children and grandchildren.

“I wanted to leave when the city was in absolutely good shape,” Groth said at the reception. “We’ve got wonderful leadership on the council level, and with the mayor and staff. The city is in great financial shape. Wonderful things are happening, and it was just a good time. But the primary thing is the family that I have.”

Groth expressed what he wants to see from Waco in the future.

“We need to try and make sure to give everybody in our community who is either underemployed or unemployed an opportunity to do better,” he said. “We need to hit the education effort as much as we can. We’ve got to make sure people are healthy, and then we need to create jobs.”

Groth said he is confident in Fisseler to perform well as the new city manager.

“Waco will be in great hands with Dale Fisseler,” Groth said.

Groth led large city projects, such as the development and passage in 2007 of the first bond election held in Waco in 40 years, worth $63 million, stated a press release from the City of Waco on Groth’s retirement.

”This provided two new fire stations, library improvements, park improvements, a new police facility, Texas Ranger Museum improvements and a total renovation of the Waco Convention Center,” the release states.

Dr. Sharon Shields, superintendent of La Vega Independent School District, was one of many who spoke at Groth’s reception and expressed gratitude for his service.

“Regardless of the title, Larry Groth has always been approachable,” Shields said. “I’ve always felt that I could count on Larry as a resource.”

Former Waco mayor Michael Morrison read aloud excerpts from letters directed to Groth from previous mayors and school district leaders, including a thank-you letter from President Ken Starr.

“You were the glue that held the city council all together,” said a letter from Jim Bush, Waco Mayor from 2010 to 2012.