FORT WORTH, Texas — From his fourth floor office in downtown Fort Worth, Tarrant County Administrator G.K. Maenius gazed at the picturesque county courthouse.
He has had the same view for 35 years.
Beneath the window sits an antique sofa his wife selected for his office when he first took on the role of county administrator in 1988.
“It was really tough, but it’s time for me to go,” Maenius told WFAA.
On Thursday, Maenius, the longest serving county administrator in Texas and the only county administrator in Tarrant County history, announced he’ll retire on Sept. 30, 2023.
“I’m proud of the way the county is today,” Maenius said. “It’s been a long journey, and we’ve seen a lot of things happen during the last 35 years.”
Maenius told WFAA he wanted to retire a few years ago, but when the COVID-19 pandemic began, he made the decision to remain in his position and ensure the county would get through the challenging time.
“This organization is a great organization, and steady leadership is what this organization has always stood for,” Maenius said. “I hope it’s going to be the same moving forward.”
During his tenure, the county’s population has doubled and Maenius has watched county leaders come and go.
According to the county, Maenius was instrumental in paving the way for Panther Island, AT&T Stadium, an expansion of American Airlines headquarters and the new Texas A&M campus in downtown Fort Worth.
In that time, he has worked with four county judges – Roy English, Tom Vandergriff, Glen Whitley and Tim O’Hare – and overseen a county government that now has more than 4,600 employees and an operating budget of approximately $900 million.
“G.K. Maenius is a Tarrant County institution,” O’Hare said. “He is a man of the utmost integrity and is simply irreplaceable. Everyone in Tarrant County owes G.K. a debt of gratitude for helping shape Tarrant County. His leadership and experience will be missed. On behalf of the Tarrant County Commissioners Court, past and present, thank you G.K. for a job well done.”
Maenius told WFAA his decision felt like the right time to step down, pause and begin a new chapter. Upon retirement, Maenius said he’ll remain in Fort Worth and plans to continue serving the community in some capacity, perhaps in the private sector or by assisting an organization.
Maenius said he sees a bright future ahead for Tarrant County, but said the county is facing several challenges.
“We have overcrowding in our jail facilities, a need to improve the health of the community, we’ve played a very active role in economic development. With the new leadership we have today, there’s gonna be an emphasis on economic development and transportation, which really go hand in hand,” Maenius said. “Change puts a new set of eyes on areas. They may be able to see things that we have overlooked.”
Maenius, a lover of history, acknowledges change is inevitable and that steady leadership is critical to get through it, he said.
“This is a great county,” Maenius said. “It’s given me an opportunity to practice my profession, and it has been a great ride.”