From Staff Reports
It’s a natural inclination for Prosper Mayor Ray Smith to use sports-related analogies in daily conversation, having played on the 1980 Baylor University football team that won the Southwest Conference Championship. That fact lends significant weight to his assessment of the current staff at Prosper, calling it "the right
team for the job."
"Sports have always been an integral part of my life, and when I look at where we are with the staff at Town Hall, I know that we’re very close to having all the right pieces in place. And that includes the Town Manager, department heads, professional staff, administrative personnel, police officers, firefighters and public works crews.
"We’ve managed to attract some blue chippers to our roster," he said.
Town Manager Harlan Jefferson has been on the job since early January, after the Town conducted a national search to fill the position. His background is heavily influenced by a strong foundation in finance, having served in a number of finance-oriented positions throughout his almost 30-year career. He served the last 15 years in Flower Mound as Town Manager, Deputy Town Manager/Chief Financial Officer, Director of Finance and Treasurer.
Previous to his service in Flower Mound, he was Director of Fiscal Operations in the City of Denton where he also held the positions of Treasurer, Director of Treasury Operations and Risk Manager. He served as Assistant to the City Manager in Jackson, Mich., briefly interrupting his service in Denton.
"Harlan has a strong financial background, but he’s also an effective change agent, administrator and leader. And, his experience in economic development gives him a unique perspective on where and how Prosper can shape itself in the future," said the Mayor.
In the time he’s been at the helm of town hall, Jefferson has devoted considerable time and thought to the structure of the organization and whether the configuration he inherited was sufficiently aligned to shepherd Prosper as it moves forward. His deliberations, in collaboration with department heads, resulted in a new organizational chart for the Town.
At the April 23 Town Council meeting, Jefferson presented a proposed reorganization to Council, outlining his
reasoning and justification. Council unanimously accepted the new alignment, including the financial support needed
for its implementation.
The Mayor was among those who quickly grasped the significance of the proposal, likening it to the highly
sought-after efficiencies inherent in a corporate reshuffling. "It made sense, since Prosper is essentially transitioning
from a small bedroom community into a bustling, economically vibrant municipality with a future that promises to
transform it significantly," he said.
Much of that transition has already been mapped. Not long ago, citizens actively participated in a series of Town Hall meetings, small group discussions, committee meetings and online surveys that resulted in an updated and forward-looking Future Land Use Plan which was overwhelmingly adopted by Council.
"The game plan is set, we’ve got the head coach in place, and he’s getting the team put together to put us in a position to win. The Council is extremely supportive and ready to give the team the resources it needs to be successful," said the Mayor.
Among the changes put in place by Jefferson’s reorganization are an upgrade of the Human Resources position from Manager to Director and luring highly-experienced Baby Raley from Farmers Branch to the new position.
Former Director of Development Services and Town Engineer Hulon Webb was promoted to a new position, Executive Director of Development and Community Services, and given charge of Development Services, Engineering Services, Public Works, Parks and Recreation and the Community Library.
Replacing Webb as Director of Development Services is former Planning Director Chris Copple. Both Copple and Webb have over seven years with the Town.
Filling in the vacant Planning position is new-hire Alex Glushko most recently from McKinney. Will Mitchell, who occupies the newly designated Parks and Recreation Manager position came from a similar post in Allen. Promoted from the position of Chemical Technician to Parks Operations Supervisor was Casey Knapp, leaving his previous position open for filling. Also recruited from Allen was recently-named Director of Economic Development Robert Winningham, who reports directly to the Prosper Economic Development Corporation. Garrett Weaver has also recently joined the EDC as an Economic Development Specialist.
Several new police officers have come onboard, and Fire Chief Ronnie Tucker was granted full-time status recently. New Town Secretary Robyn Battle and Jefferson’s Executive Assistant and Deputy Town Secretary Carol Myers are recent additions as well.
Yet to be filled are several new or readjusted positions including Purchasing Agent, Accountant, Director of Engineering Services, Senior Engineer, Parks Operations Supervisor and Landscape Architect. Several support positions are also currently open.
"It’s an exciting time for Prosper, and I know I speak for the council when I say that we’re ready to enter the next level, fielding a strong team. We might be seen as the rookie team, but we’ve got some solid veteran leadership up and down the organization," Smith said.