Deputy City Manager James Hotopp has been named city manager for the city of Weatherford, effective Dec. 14.
Outgoing City Manager Sharon Hayes announced her retirement in August. Hayes was appointed city manager for the city of Weatherford in 2015 after serving as assistant city manager and various other multi-management positions.
Hotopp started working with the city of Weatherford in 2007 as a civil engineer. He has held the positions of director of water utilities, assistant city manager and, most recently, deputy city manager. Before joining the city of Weatherford, Hotopp worked in the private sector as an associate engineer and project manager/engineer.
Council’s announcement at the meeting Tuesday evening was met with a standing ovation and applause for Hotopp. Afterward, Hotopp said he has been fortunate to work alongside Hayes.
“Sharon and I began in utilities together and [I've] been fortunate enough to work in the city manager’s office with her, and I can honestly say that everything I’ve learned about local government has been from her,” Hotopp said. “So, it’s been a very good experience.”
Hotopp said Weatherford is a leader in Parker County in terms of public safety, economics and quality of life. He pointed out a few capital projects, such as the construction of a new police building, downtown redevelopment and the partnership with Weatherford College at the animal shelter.
“We strengthened and expanded our relationships with other government organizations like Parker County, Weatherford College, [Weatherford] ISD and some of our neighboring cities like Hudson Oaks and Willow Park,” Hotopp said. “We’ve got the finest staff of any local government across the state that’s working to build a strong community, and I’m excited to be a part of Weatherford, Texas.”
In a press release from the city, Hotopp said he wants to partner with residents, staff and elected officials to continue making Weatherford “a great place to live, work and play.”
“I look forward to building partnerships and creating more conversation with our citizens to make Weatherford the strongest community in Texas,” Hotopp said.
Hotopp holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington. He has been responsible for overseeing numerous areas for the city of Weatherford including, parks and recreation, water, electric, transportation and public works, economic development, planning, code enforcement and engineering. Hotopp has also served as the city’s liaison with the Municipal Utility Board and city council.
“James Hotopp is a highly qualified, results-based, driven leader that embraces the mentality of a customer service model of operation,” Weatherford Mayor Paul Paschall said in the press release. “The level of integrity, structure and pursuit of excellence that he possesses makes him the obvious choice to help lead the city of Weatherford into the future. His education, temperament, respect from employees and the community were key in our decision-making process. The Hotopp family has shown that they embrace our area and are committed to more than this just being a professional stepping stone, but rather a long-term commitment to our community.”
Paschall said council sought input from staff, community stakeholders and business leaders and decided to search internally for a city manager based on the survey and direction from external experts.
In the final analysis, it was determined that Hotopp not only met all the criteria but held the advantage of being able to keep city operations moving with no learning curve.
“We looked for technical expertise and grounded experience in local government, especially in high growth areas,” Mayor Pro-Tem Heidi Wilder said. “During the past few years the city has established a strong financial position and is in a great situation to manage growth. Weatherford needs a city manager that understands its past and present while embracing the future. Mr. Hotopp has all of the characteristics, experience and knowledge to keep Weatherford moving in the right direction.”