Covington City Manager Steve Horton said Tuesday he will officially retire from the city Dec. 21, ending a 34-year career with the city and beginning the process of searching for a replacement.
The Covington City Council has not yet determined how it will replace Horton, but elected officials are expected to iron out the details in the next couple of weeks.
"The council has agreed to meet soon to determine the process," Mayor Ronnie Johnston said. "I have full confidence in the council and they will put in place a process that is fair to all. This is a big decision for the future of the City of Covington."
Horton initially planned to retire this month, but agreed to stay on longer at the request of Johnston who had asked for help transitioning into his new role as mayor.
"Mr. Horton is a man of his word. He told me he would stay another year and he did. Being mayor gives you a unique inside look at the city manager in action and I have to say, besides my Dad (John Johnston), Steve is one of the most outstanding leaders I've had the honor to work with; he is a great mentor," Johnston said.
"My time with Steve was short, but I thank God for the time we had. I believe the time with Steve has prepared me to be a successful mayor for the city of Covington. His talent and leadership will be hard to replace; simply put he will be missed. I will be forever grateful for the time we had together and consider him a friend for life."
When asked about his goals for the rest of the year, Horton said "to work as hard as I did the first day on the job (more than 30 years ago) and to give the citizens the level of service that they expect and deserve."
Horton was first hired as a police patrol officer in February 1978 working his way to police chief, public works director, then assistant city manager and, eventually, city manager, the top position in Covington. Horton and his wife, Mary, have one son, Steven Jr., and two grandchildren, Taylor and Steven III.
"I appreciate the opportunity to have been able serve in the city where I have lived most of my life, up until now, and to have been able to learn so many things from such a variety of talented people."
As for the first thing he plans to do once he retires, Horton said he hopes to sleep in until 9 a.m.