Carmean remembers Milford beginnings

carmean

“In 10 years, we lost over 100 police officers and three chiefs. And when I say turmoil, I mean our department was the topic of news across the state,” he said.

He became known and recognized as the youngest police chief in the nation with a department of more than 10 people at the age of 25 in 1973. Despite his age, he said morale began to improve and the turnover rate stabilized.

“All those positive things happened in my tenure. We went from typewriters to computers. I was able to see men and women actually make a career here and that wasn’t happening before,” he recalled.

Mr. Carmean was also known to sit in as city manager when needed to “keep an eye on the City.”

These random stints as manager ended in 1997 when Milford went without an official city manager for four to five months. During that time, the then chief of police was also the acting city manager with the understanding that the city would place an ad for the job opening.

The City of Milford never placed the ad, and ultimately, asked Mr. Carmean to retire as police chief and remain as the city manager.

“I decided to stay for one year to see if I liked it. I decided it wasn’t so bad,” he said.

“But,” he added, “when I took the job, I also realized I had not given the city manager enough credit. Every pothole, every trashcan not set on the street properly was my problem. It was bigger than I realized.”

Since then, he retired from the city, was brought back to aid economic development and became the city manager once more in 2011.

Mr. Carmean decided it was finally “just time” to retire. “You know, my daughter asked, ‘Dad, why are you retiring?’ and I said, well, I’ve been working for 40 years. And there were no more questions,” he said. “I just want to enjoy part of life without being responsible to someone. My mother-in-law passed away recently, quietly in her own home, in her own chair. And I thought I’ll sign up for that, seriously.”

Now, he said he’s happy knowing he will remain in the community as a retiree.

“I don’t even get that excited when we talk vacation, I’m happy right here,” he said, adding that he’d love to visit Germany if he and his wife decided to travel.

He plans to volunteer in the community and enjoy the Riverwalk during his retirement while he rests easy knowing he has left the City in good hands, he said.

“I’m looking at these positions now as a citizen in the community and I’m confident that my successor, and Gary Emory’s successor, will do a great job,” he said. “I don’t think the City will see any drop of services, instead they’ll see innovations. Nobody is irreplaceable. We’re in good shape.”

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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