LAWTON, OK (TNN) - Lawton’s former City Manager is looking back on his more than 35-year career with the city. Jerry Ihler retired last Friday and said he hopes he left an impact on the city and the people he worked with.
Ihler started working for the City of Lawton in 1982. He returned to City Hall for a meeting on Thursday, but not as a city employee.
"[It was] a little strange coming in," Ihler said.
He said he's going to miss the people he worked with all those years.
"The City of Lawton has some really dedicated employees, and some of them have become lifelong friends of mine, and it's those relationships that I'm going to miss," he said.
Ihler said what he won't miss is putting in 70 hours per week. He hopes to be remembered as someone who always wanted what was best for the city.
"And I did my very best to try to move Lawton forward," he said.
Now that he's retired, Ihler has already gone on vacation and is planning to spend time with family as they await the birth of a new grandbaby.
He was happy to see the council hire a new city manager in a timely manner.
"February is the beginning of the budget process, and I think it's good that the new city manager comes in and be a part of that process," Ihler said.
His advice for the new city manager, Michael Cleghorn, is simple.
"Get to meet all the department heads, all the employees,” Ihler said. “For the first couple months listen, and take in what everybody is telling them, and learn what the procedures are and policies are within the city."
As for other city employees looking to work up through the ranks, Ihler said to never give up on your dreams.
“The City of Lawton does afford you the ability to move up to a higher position if that’s what your desires are,” he said. “You just need to continue to work hard, put in the time and get the education requirements that are needed for that job. It can happen. I’m an example of that.”