By Terry Rogers
City Manager, Richard Carmean, says that he is looking forward to his retirement. With his last official day as City Manager planned for January 2, 2015, he says that he plans to be available next year for city projects he started as manager, but hopes to spend some time working on his house and visiting his children and grandchildren.
“There are some projects I will be working on related to the Riverwalk in order to bring that area of Milford up to its fullest potential,” Mr. Carmean said. “It is what made this city what it is, things that happened on the river. I also have an interest in old cars so I will putter around with them.” Mr. Carmean says he hopes to connect with some of his car friends, many of whom are also retired.
Mr. Carmean spent 40 years in city service, joining the police force in the 1970s and becoming police chief at the age of 27. He says one of the biggest accomplishments in his career was turning around a police department that had at the time high turnover.
“When I was hired as chief, I was the fifth chief in ten years,” Mr. Carmean said. “I think the longest my predecessors held the job was four years. My own mother made the comment ‘Richard, grown men have tried to do this job. What makes you think you can do it?’ I guess at 27 I was still a kid to her. But the community accepted me and we created a department where officers wanted to stay. To see what it has become makes me very proud.” Mr. Carmean helped plan and layout the current police department building, which bears his name, and says that it is odd now to look at that as an old, outdated building.
After serving as Police Chief, Mr. Carmean was approached by then Mayor Ronnie Rogers to take over the position as City Manager and held that job for 11 years starting in 1997. He retired in 2008 and the City hired another City Manager who Mr. Carmean recommended, David Baird. Mr. Baird left the position in 2011 and the City urged Mr. Carmean, who had been working in a part-time capacity as the Economic Development Director with the City, to return to the position. When he heard that Hans Medlarz was planning to retire as director of Kent County Public Works, he suggested to City Council that he would be a good replacement as City Manager. Mr. Medlarz will begin working in that position on January 5, 2015.
“In this job it is hard to even take a three-day weekend sometimes,” Mr. Carmean said when asked what his retirement plans were. “I have a son and daughter-in-law who live in Nashville. My other son, his wife and my grandkids will be living in Washington DC, so I want to take some time to go visit them. I think I will mostly do whatever I want to do.” Mr. Carmean said he has enjoyed both jobs he has held with the City and he hopes everyone enjoys coming to work as much as he has. He joked that even his social life it tied to his work life, so he knows he will continue seeing many of those he worked with after he leaves the City.
Mr. Carmean says that Milford has handled growth well, something he is proud to have been a part of. He is pleased that Milford had the foresight to work on the annexation of some surrounding lands ten years ago and he states that those expansions are working in the town’s favor now. He says that Bayhealth’s decision to build a new health campus on some of the land that had been annexed will be very beneficial to Milford.
“The annexation of those lands wasn’t met with total agreement,” Mr. Carmean said. “I do want to point out that all but one of those properties was annexed at the request of the landowners, not the city. At the time, the county was expanding, and we were concerned that the city would become surrounded by county lands, essentially landlocking us and prevent us from growing.”
Mr. Carmean says that he sees some good things happening with younger people getting involved and taking office. He says that there will be expansive growth in the next ten years, and with younger citizens growing more interested in serving in office, he feels that the next decade will be a time of significant growth for the city.
“There have been quite a few people who have chosen Milford as their retirement location, which would make them about my age,” Mr. Carmean said. “I have tried to get to know some of these people and look forward to growing those friendships even more. But I am so pleased to see younger members of our town taking an interest in what is going on. They are the ones who will bring about the changes that will keep our city growing and improving.”