McBurnett blazing new trail for city of Emerson
by Jessica Loeding
Jun 26, 2011 | 5167 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emerson City Manager Kevin McBurnett.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Emerson City Manager Kevin McBurnett. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
When Kevin McBurnett is told he single-handedly runs the city of Emerson, he is quick to correct you. He does nothing alone.

Although he has help from the mayor, council and city employees, rarely does anything happen that McBurnett isn't part of.

During an interview in 2010, the Emerson city manager explained that when he took over the position there were no clearly defined goals for Bartow County's southern-most town.

Since he took over, Emerson has made progress -- beginning infrastructure repairs, wrangling the LakePoint Sports complex development and, most recently, paying off more than $600,000 in debt.

When each of those achievements occurred, McBurnett swiftly directed attention from himself, encouraging the media to speak with the mayor or other officials.

The modesty and hard work shows, not only in the city's changes but in the warm way his city hall staff speaks of him. He leads by example, following his own philosophy of "do unto others."

Name: Kevin H. McBurnett

Age: 40

Occupation: Emerson City Manager and holds certifications as a police officer, Drug Recognition Officer, Chief of Police, Class 3 Water Operator, Class 3 Wastewater Operator, Level 1B Soil and Erosion

City of Residence: Cartersville

Family: Engaged to Dana Womack; daughters, Rheannon McBurnett and Jenna McBurnett, both of Cartersville; stepsons, Timothy Hopkins of Pikeville, Ky., and Jeremy Hopkins, currently stationed in Afghanistan; grandchildren, Ethan McBurnett and Marley McBurnett, both of Cartersville

Education: R.L. Osborne High

How did you make the transition from law enforcement to public administration?

A: Kicking and screaming. Just kidding. [I spent] a lot of long hours learning and researching the various methodologies of government and seeking the advice of other local officials.

When you took over as city manager in Emerson, you've said there was no clear-cut five-year plan. How does it feel in your time with the city to be debt-free and looking at the development of LakePoint Sports' complex?

A: The horizon holds many challenges that evoke curiosity and excitement inside me. I look forward to the daily challenges presented and hope that I can bring positive changes to the city. Having a great council to support and guide growth and development in the City of Emerson is crucial as well.

What is the hardest part, and your favorite part, of your job?

A: The daily challenges. For someone who has never worked on the inside of the government, the day-to-day operations seem docile, but that is the farthest from the truth. Each day presents new and different challenges that require us to step outside the box and use sound judgement to make the best decision for the people of Emerson. Many times this requires educating citizens in the various requirements in government. I have to look at the long-term goals and effects ... on the citizens of each action or decision that is made.

Do you have plans to return to law enforcement or make a transition, perhaps into politics, in the future?

A: No. I enjoy working in my current capacity and feel that I am best suited for this position.

What is your greatest achievement?

A: In life, my family and being a role model to my "adopted" daughter. In work, watching a community grow.

If you weren't city manager -- or an officer, what would you be doing?

A: I have always wanted to own a small hometown sports bar and grill, situated near the white sand and a large body of water.

What do you think people would be surprised to learn about you?

A: I am an avid dirt track racing fan. I help out Dale Thurman, local Bartow County fireman and Emerson police officer, and can be seen on weekends at local dirt tracks.

What is your favorite meal?

A: Anything that is home-cooked.

What makes Bartow County -- and Emerson -- special?

A: The community. There is so much history in this town - there is hardly a day that goes by that I do not learn new and interesting facts about this great community.

What is the best advice you have received?

A: Remember to take time off for yourself. Trust me, it will still be there when you get back.

And what philosophy do you live by?

A: Faith, family and friends. Do unto others as you would have done to you. Be nice.