Going: Mayor Bill Hastings to retire Friday

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 5/12/22

Mayor Bill Hastings joked Monday that he would chunk the mayor’s gavel at, instead of handing it over to, Mayor-Elect Dusty Thiele Friday at City Hall.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Going: Mayor Bill Hastings to retire Friday


Mayor Bill Hastings joked Monday that he would chunk the mayor’s gavel at, instead of handing it over to, Mayor-Elect Dusty Thiele Friday at City Hall.

Joking aside, the image of what comes next for Hastings is clear in his mind. Actually, since he announced last December that he would not seek a second, three-year term as mayor, the image seems to have always been there.

It is sunrise. Hastings and his wife Susan—who herself recently retired as Katy Christian Ministries Crisis Center director—are sitting together on a small boat. Also on the boat are their two miniature Australian shepherds, Kate (which they call Katy) and Allie. Bill and Susan are fishing, drinking coffee and watching the sunrise over Lake Livingston. They are building a house on the lake. Among their new neighbors are some former law enforcement colleagues with whom Hastings has remained friends with over the years.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Hastings said. “Life is good.”

Hastings’s retirement ends a 47-year public service career. He has served as a paramedic, volunteer firefighter, police officer, police chief, and mayor. He has joked that Susan retired out of self-defense. If she left him alone for a couple of days, he’d have found some sort of job, even a part-time one.

Monday’s council meeting was the last full meeting at which Hastings presided as mayor. Susan attended the meeting, along with some of their children and grandchildren. Hastings received a proclamation from Harris County Pct. 4 Commissioner R. Jack Cagle lauding Hastings’s public service career. Cagle made it a point to ask the family to join him for the photos of the presentation—a point Hastings made note of when it was his turn to speak. Hastings said he hoped the extra time would make him a better husband, father, and Paw-Paw.

In an interview reflecting on his time in office, Hastings said the biggest lesson he learned as mayor was that the wheels of city government didn’t work as quickly as hoped.

“Everything within the city moves slow,” Hastings said. “It takes a lot of meetings, a lot of committees, a lot of going up the chain to get things done. It’s a slow process.”

Hastings said the pandemic was probably the biggest challenge he ever faced. Among other consequences, City Hall had to be closed to the public and council meetings were held virtually. Hastings said city employees were separated into different buildings to keep the COVID rates low. Yet everything turned out so well for the city, he said.

“We took care of our employees,” Hastings said. “We never messed with their insurance or their retirement. We had no furloughs. We separated them into different buildings to keep the COVID rates down. That was close to two years.”

Hastings said despite the struggles, city leaders worked to keep a balanced budget at the end of the first year of the pandemic. A lot of cities failed to do this, he said.

Hastings has been a city resident for about 50 years. He said he never envisioned leaving Katy, but at the same time he didn’t see his retirement within the city limits.

He plans to stay in touch and participate, particularly with Leyendecker Landing, a city water detention facility dedicated last month. Leyendecker Landing is named to honor David Leyendecker, the longtime city engineer who died in December 2020.

“Leyendecker Landing is a huge passion of mine,” Hastings said, remembering that he first met Leyendecker within two years of moving to Katy.

“We have known each other for 45 years,” Hastings said. “We were good friends. We drove around and looked at his cattle. We looked at property. He was a great man and one of those people you enjoyed being around. I think Leyendecker Landing will honor him.”

Hastings also said he wanted to remain active with the mayor’s advisory council. The purpose of the council is for the current mayor to receive insights and feedback on issues facing the city. Leyendecker Landing is one of those issues.

Hastings also plans to keep attending the Coffee with the Mayors event, which happens monthly at the Johnny Nelson Katy Heritage Museum, 6002 George Bush Dr. All the former mayors are invited for coffee and friendly conversation. Hastings said there has never been any controversy at those gatherings, despite initial concerns of some that the event would be a roundtable argument. Quite the contrary.

“It’s just a good morning,” Hastings said. “Everybody talks. It’s just a nice, quiet morning.”

City of Katy, mayor


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here