Last week, Sam Burt completed the first year of a two-year contract as Seymour’s city administrator.
There won’t be a second year.
Citing a desire to retire to focus on his family and health, Burt last Thursday morning accepted a settlement from the Seymour Board of Aldermen to buy out the second year of his contract.
Burt will be paid $16,250 in the settlement, which is the equivalent of three months of his $65,000 annual salary.
He also will be paid $2,812.50 for his unused vacation and personal time.
The city’s aldermen have tabbed Hillary Gintz, the current assistant administrator, as Burt’s replacement.
After a special meeting of the aldermen last Tuesday, June 25, Gintz was offered a one-year contract as the administrator with an annual salary of $60,000.
She is the city’s fiest female administrator.
Her new duties are effective immediately, as was Burt’s retirement.
“I love Seymour,” Burt said Thursday morning when he officially announced his retirement and accepted the city’s settlement. “When icame to the city, it was in turmoil. The need was large for an administrator, the situation wasn’t an ideal one, but once the job was offered and I accepted, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my job.
“That’s because I truly love the community. And I’ve developed many quality relationships in this job. It wasn’t easy at first. It’s hard to be the new guy.”
As time passed, Burt said his city relationships grew.
“I feel that I’ve developed many strong relationships with the workforce,” he said. “I worked hard to do that, to build trust, to understand their needs.
“That’s one thing people in Seymour need to know and need to realize ... the city is blessed with a strong workforce. Best of all, they are good people, across the board.”
He singled out his successor, Gintz, as a solid and strong staff member.
“Hillary played a key role in our budgeting process, which I feel has progressed a lot since I started as administrator,” Burt said. “We now budget by department and with all of the department heads. That’s really been a good thing.”
Burt added that he’ll continue as pastor of Seymour’s Cumberland Presbyterian Church, located on the southeast corner of the city square.
“I have another job (as a pastor),” he noted. “My boss is a man who is much bigger than me.”
During his 4-1/2 years as the city administrator, Burt had many accomplishments, beginning with the development of the northeast edge of the city limits, including annexation of the former Owen family property that led to the construction of a new Taco Bell and soon a new O’Reilly Auto Parts store at the site.
He led the revision of the city’s pay schedule to ensure that all city employees earned fair-market wages.
“That was very important to me,” Burt said. “I want for anyone who works full time for the city of Seymour to earn a livable wage. I think that’s happening now.”
Before the city installed salary schedules, employee raises were random.
“The running joke was that (the employees) got a quarter (raise) each year,” Burt said with a smile. “I used to joke with them that I was going to take away their quarter.”
Under his leadership, he spearheaded obtaining a grant from the state to install an ultraviolet-treatment system at the wastewater plan and also was at the helm when several new businesses came to town, such as the El Patron restaurant, Hucklebucks and the aforementioned businesses on the former Owen property.
Burt led the rebuilding of the Seymour Police Department, which included the hiring of Police Chief Bob Paudert, a veteran law-enforcement officer.
The city’s vehicle fleet was upgraded under his watch, as were many pieces of equipment. Technology was improved, ranging from computers to the phone system.
“When I look back at my work here, I’m proud of what we have accomplished,” Burt concluded.
“That we includes myself with the help of all the city employees and the board. For the most part, I feel we’ve all had a good working relationship.”
“For now, I’m just going to take it easy for a few weeks,” Burt said.
“Who knows what comes next. Whatever it is, it will be here in Seymour. This is my home.”
When Gintz began her new duties Thursday, she started in a new location at Seymour City Hall.
Her office is downstairs at the front of the building.
With the move, the front doors of city hall now will be open daily.
“With the change, I want for people to have the ability to easily talk to me,” Gintz said. “I just felt that could be better accomplished with me being downstairs.
“There is an added bonus with this, as well, with the city now having two entrances for the public.”
Gintz’s former position of assistant administrator won’t be filled.