Assistant City Manager to retire

After 32 years of helping plan the future of Victoria, Assistant City Manager John Kaminski is retiring at the end of the year.

City of Victoria employees and community members will gather for Kaminski’s retirement reception Monday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Victoria Community Center Annex, 2905 E. North St. The event is free and open to the public.

Kaminski began his career with the City of Victoria in 1988 as a city planner and worked his way up through Planning and Development Services until March 2012 when he became the assistant city manager.

During his tenure as assistant city manager, Kaminski oversaw the change in focus from a small planning department to a complete Development Services department that combined planning functions, building permitting and inspection, subdivision platting, GIS Services, Code Enforcement, Community Development Block Grant and Metropolitan Planning Organizations. This helped bring one cohesive approach to development in Victoria.

As assistant city manager, Kaminski holds direct supervisory responsibility for Development Services, Public Works, Environmental Services, Parks and Recreation, Information Technology, and the Building and Equipment Services Departments.

Kaminski said he recalls the creation and adoption of Victoria 2020, the first Comprehensive Plan to be adopted in Victoria’s history, as one of the most memorable highlights in his 32-year tenure with the City.

“Victoria 2020 produced results that can be seen across the community today in the improved quality of development and an increased focus on quality of life issues,” he said.

Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Victoria created another powerful memory for the assistant city manager as he helped lead the city’s disaster recovery efforts. During the storm and the immediate aftermath, the City experienced significant flooding along the lower areas near the Guadalupe River. Since then, Kaminski has worked to secure $8.5 million in grant funding for drainage improvements and flood control measures in areas along the River. The funds also helped to buy out some homes that repeatedly have experienced the devastation of flooding.

“We learned a great deal from Harvey, and as a result, we are a stronger community,” Kaminski said. “As a municipal government, we are better prepared to respond to disasters in the future.”

Kaminski said the average tenure of a city planner is less than five years, so planners rarely see the long-term impact of their work.

“To have spent a career that spans over three decades in Victoria has been an opportunity that few in my profession will experience,” he said. “I am grateful to have lived it.”