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Tarrant County's longtime administrator, G.K. Maenius, announces retirement

G.K Maneius, a white man wearing round glasses and a gray pinstripe suit, reads from a piece of paper before a microphone at a podium.
Emily Nava
/
KERA
G.K Maenius, Tarrant County's administrator, runs through the agenda of the March 14 Commissioners Court meeting.

Tarrant County Administrator G.K. Maenius will retire in September, capping off more than 35 years of service, the county announced in a press release Thursday morning.

Maenius, 71, is Texas' longest-serving county administrator, according to the press release. He's also the only one Tarrant County has ever had. He was the first person to take the job in January 1988.

“G.K. Maenius is a Tarrant County institution,” Tarrant County Judge Tim O'Hare said in the press release. “He is a man of the utmost integrity and is simply irreplaceable. He has faithfully served Tarrant County for over 35 years, leaving a lasting legacy of service to this amazing place we call home. We celebrate G.K. and his accomplishments. His retirement is well-earned.”

The county administrator is not an elected official.

Maenius is an appointed staff member who oversees a county government with 4,600 employees and a $900 million operating budget. He also steers the biweekly County Commissioners meetings. His annual salary is about $410,000, county records show.

Government officials around the country look to Maenius as "the quintessential county administrator," said County Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks, who has worked alongside Maenius for decades.

"He has been a calming force on Commissioners Court for all these years, and he will be missed," Brooks said. "We will find someone to take over the job, but there's only one G.K. Maenius. He really can't be replaced."

Maenius' expertise leaves "quite a pair of shoes to fill," said Susan Garnett, the CEO of MHMR, the county's mental health authority.

"He knows every square inch of the budget, and every square inch of the county, and has been zealous and tireless in doing the right thing for Tarrant County residents," she said.

Before becoming county administrator, Maenius worked in governmental affairs for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and was executive director of the Fort Worth Crime Commission, his official bio says.

The county's press release praised Maenius for helping to bring Tarrant County into the 21st century. He collaborated with Tarrant County cities and businesses on projects like Panther Island and the new Texas A&M development in downtown Fort Worth. He also guided county government through Tarrant's explosive population growth — from 1.1 million people when he took the job in 1988, to 2.1 million people in 2022.

"G.K. Maenius has masterfully guided our county through incredible growth the past 35 years," County Commissioner Manny Ramirez wrote in a tweet Thursday. "And he has been critical in preparing a new generation of leadership to springboard our county into the future."

This retirement announcement comes shortly after Elections Administrator Heider Garcia decided to leave the county. Garcia resigned after citing disagreements with the county judge.

Maenius' last day on the job is September 30. He plans to split his time between Tarrant County and his ranch in his hometown of Fredericksburg, according to the press release.

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Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at msuarez@kera.org. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

Miranda Suarez is KERA’s Tarrant County accountability reporter. Before coming to North Texas, she was the Lee Ester News Fellow at Wisconsin Public Radio, where she covered statewide news from the capital city of Madison. Miranda is originally from Massachusetts and started her public radio career at WBUR in Boston.