Gene Anderson sits in Paris’ Finance Office amid a stack of papers piled high on the corner of the desk where he has spent much of the past 34 years.
“I keep things I am working on there so they are readily available and I remember what I need to be working on,” Anderson said, while looking at a proposal from a Dallas contractor to build hundreds of entry level houses in Paris.
For the second time in recent years, Anderson dons a second hat and starts a second pile of papers as he serves as interim city manager following the resignation of John Godwin last week.
Anderson expressed confidence he could handle both positions.
“I am fully staffed in the finance department, and have a good crew,” he said. “I’ve got a good relationship with all the department heads, having been here so long and serving as interim before.”
Anderson said he knew in high school he would choose either accounting or law as a profession because he likes numbers and he likes people. Public service at the local level quickly appealed to him.
“I like to positively impact the lives of people, and I believe local government is where you have the most impact,” Anderson said.
“I am from here; have stayed here and plan to retire here; and, I just love Paris.
Anderson said the present is an exciting time for Paris with an increase in building permits and the possibility of new housing where city-owned lots remain vacant.
“People are just doing a lot,” Anderson said. “The city also is doing a lot with infrastructure and streets, trying to get to things that have been ignored for a long time to improve the quality of life.”
Along with department directors, Anderson said he will continue work currently underway, using the city’s comprehensive plan as a guide, including downtown revitalization.
The interim manager said he does not believe this council will take long in finding a new city manager.
“This is a good council, and they get things done,” Anderson said.
A 1972 Paris High School graduate, Anderson attended Paris Junior College and received his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1976 from East Texas State University, now Texas A&M-Commerce.
The same year, and at age 21, he became the youngest county auditor in the state when he was appointed Lamar County auditor, a post he held eight years. He received a master’s degree in business administration in 1983, broadening his education to include the closely related disciplines of marketing, finance and personnel administration. The Paris native moved from the auditor’s position at the courthouse to city hall in January 1985.