Donovan Blackburn in '04: A Look Back at When the Reign Began
Posted in the Pikeville Forum
#1 Jul 19, 2014
Blackburn starts as new Pikeville CIty Manager
By: Laura Charles, Editor
Donovan Blackburn recently assumed the position of Pikeville city manager on Jan. 12, filling the vacancy left by former manager Kenny Blackburn who is now employed with US Bank.
Blackburn previously served as an area operations manager for Ferrellgas, overseeing plants in Pikeville, Williamson, Hager Hill and Hazard, Ky. Prior to working for Ferrellgas, Blackburn resided in Winchester, Ky., were he was a district manager for Lowe’s and supervised 12 facilities in the state’s central region.
Blackburn moved up through the ranks at Lowe’s, having managed stores in Glasgow, St. Matthews and Elizabethtown, Ky., before his move to Winchester. He has also held management positions at such entities as Druthers restaurant and Kmart.
A 1983 graduate of Pikeville High School who attended Greasy Creek Elementary, Blackburn had been yearning to return to the area for several years before taking his former position with Ferrellgas in 2001.
“It’s a fairytale story to be able to come back to the community in which I grew up in a leadership role,” Blackburn commented.“I appreciate the city giving me the opportunity not to only become a leader, but a citizen again.”
He added,“In past positions, I’ve never worked in a town where I live. Being able to be stable and part of the community where I grew up is important to me.”
Having said that “a city is a business,” Blackburn feels that his professional background was the reason the Pikeville City Commission selected him to serve as city manager, and that the position was “tailor-made” to that background.
One of Blackburn’s short-term goals as city manager is for the agencies reporting to him (Pikeville Fire Department, Pikeville City Police, City Utilities, Tax Department and Parks Department) to work in unison and communicate effectively with each other.
A long-term goal, which Blackburn also considers to be a challenge, is the improvement of services that the city provides for its clientele. Blackburn noted that the city commission “has done an outstanding job laying cornerstones for growth” in the city, citing such examples as the downtown parking structure, the underground utility project, land development on Cassady Boulevard, and the civic center – a project made possible by cooperation between the city and Pike County governments.
Blackburn also commented on the growth of Pikeville Methodist Hospital and its services, and stated that Pikeville’s progression is what actually enticed him to apply for the city manager position. He feels that expansion is the focus of Mayor Frankie Justice and the city commissionl.
“In meeting some of the commissioners and the mayor, I feel that they have an interest in Pikeville that comes from the heart,” Blackburn explained.“They care about the community they live in. I have been very impressed and accepted the position (of city manager) because I feel comfortable with the government.”
Blackburn actually spent most of New Year’s Day traveling around Pikeville with Justice to learn more about various projects taking place in the city.
Outside of his professional life, Blackburn, who resides in a 120-year-old renovated home in downtown Pikeville, enjoys spending time with his family and staying active in his church, Raccoon Primitive Baptist. Blackburn and his wife, Debbie, have two sons, Tristan, 18; and Jeremy, 17.
Blackburn is also a fan of college and high school sports, and enjoys golfing and hiking through the mountains.
As for his new position, Blackburn stated that he looks forward to working with city employees and building a relationship with the community.
#2 Jul 20, 2014
Good Article and yes he has done a fine job in that position, looking forward to another 10 years of progress for Pikeville. Thanks for posting!
#3 Jul 20, 2014
Thanks, City Suck, for your comments.
Donovan Blackburn is the unelected King Con Man with no college education who gets paid more than a circuit judge.
Keep drinking the Kool Aid, I will not!
#4 Jul 21, 2014
You are just a tired old political Hack trying to defame and attack a person in order to either go after his job yourself or put one of your cronies in that position. I'm sure he don't make the money you claim and if he did I'm sure you would not turn it down if you were to wallow him out of his job. I can't name all the projects especially tourism projects the city has undertaken over the last 10 years, most progressive city council in decades. They are trying to build in and around Pikeville and to build the cities tax base "revenue" that don't depend so much on coal severance. They are doing an excellent job and it will take a few more years to see the total fruition and value of the progress they have made. It is easy to be on the outside throwing mud and hacking on people and spreading false information. However most people in Pikeville and Pike County know how the game is played. After sever different post harping on the same tired ole lie it looks like you would see you are not making much progress. Nobody is looking backward and wanting to go back to a time of do nothing take no chances city councils that were about as innovative as dead fish.
#5 Jul 21, 2014
Send Donovan to Welch, WV or Hyden, KY and see how he does. A lot was already here when the Great Con Man started. All he had to do was wallpaper the walls that others had built and spend that big occupational tax money. A thousand people could have done as good or better than Donovan.
#6 Jul 21, 2014
Why would we want to send someone that is doing a fine job here in Pikeville to Welch, WV., Hyden or anywhere else. Oh yes a thousand people may have been able to do the job but he has the Cat Bird seat and you are just about sour grapes! Tired old fossil head that don't have a clue about how to run a city or create new opportunities as the coal industry goes away. Just bitch, piss and moan, do it down in the River Fill and we can get in them new seats down there and charge for the show....lol
#7 Jul 21, 2014
You're in a delusional fantasy land, bubby...a thousand people could have done what Donovan has done if they landed into a place that already had Pikeville's assets when the ex-Lowe's/K-Mart/Druthers man got the job. He ain't the worst but he sure ain't be best either. And for 130k I guarantee Pikeville could get someone with a MPA or at least a bachelor's degree. Donovan is just a guy who has thrown money around and got very arrogant to boot along with the suck circle that keeps him in.
#8 Jul 21, 2014
Folks, how can u complain? I am so proud that Pikevile is moving forward. I lived out in the county most of my life and I've often said if county Govt was ran like the city a lot more things would be happening. I commend all in city govt. All u have to do is look at all the projects that are ongoing or have been completed. Sent from iPad device.
#9 Jul 21, 2014
Donovan done good from his City iPad?
#10 Jul 21, 2014
Project after project, all up and running. A long litany of progress and successful ventures and all you got is Mud Slinging generalized statements that make no sense. Arrogant? that's a personality tick even if he was what the heck does that have to do with job performance. You got no specifics, just wind. There are a lot of city, county and state department people that don't have a degree, you're such a stickler for a sheepskin but have not told us specifically what the man has failed to do?
I see projects discussed, voted on and then brought to fruition within or under budget. I can name several major building and recreation projects the city has that they didn't 10 years ago. The budget is balanced if not running a surplus, people are coming to Pikeville and Pikeville City limits business and spending money to support the Tax Base. I hope we have another 10 years like the last 10 years, well satisfied with the City Council and employee's.
#11 Jul 21, 2014
Yes maybe we should get Donovan over at the fiscal court and see if he can straighten out that county mess. They can't even take 2 1/2 million dollars and build a 3/4 mile road, still begging for another 2 million. We could have had Donovan over there for the last 10 years and saved enough to pay him $150,000 a year and it would have been a bargain if he could have cut half that waste over there. We got nothing for the tax payer money wasted on the county side.
#12 Jul 21, 2014
So you want specifics…here is a start…
-Expo Center in red, mired in debt, yet City took it over
-Jenny Wiley Ugly Theatre 2.7 million debt that will never break even
-Tore down perfectly good post office instead of reusing it and built smaller, terribly designed one next door with parking lot too small
-Laughingstock air service that can't get off the ground and will be a joke if it does that will fold when federal money runs out
-King of bull propaganda on Pike-TV who is in love with the sound of his own voice just like Wayne was
-Arrogantly shielded from public behind security door at new wasteful City Hall
-Is on third office location as City Manager, keeps wanting bigger and plusher and wastes thousands on digs to promote self
-Has never met a tax or a fee he didn't love and run to get City Commission to impose
-Has paid with Taxpayers dollars for his name and/or photo in newspaper and magazine ads
-Has put name and photo out at Taxpayer expense to promote self
-Went after and slurred the good name of Magistrate and State Representative-elect Chris Harris when Harris had the guts to dare question him and the actions of the City
-Constantly misuses "come" and "went" and sounds like cornpone on t.v. and writes terrible public responses
-Wants to make Pikeville "Gatlinburg" without any concern for what local residents think
#13 Jul 22, 2014
8 million dollar Bridge to a 5-6 million dollar road to Marion's Branch that already has two major business ready to move onto the industrial site that will provide jobs in the city limits. According to the chamber and the paper Donovan got the state and the investors together and set up the meeting announcing the above. Looks like he is doing his job to me. What are you doing other than gripe?
#14 Jul 22, 2014
That's been in the works for years, the Airport Board owned that property. Pikeville managed to do pretty good while Donovan was managing Lowe's stores and it will continue to when he's gone.
#15 Jul 22, 2014
Pikeville was a stuck in the mud berg dog patch of a town that was as dead as a door knob until about 10 years ago when some people got in and started using their imagination and organization skills to plan, develop and build all kinds of infrastructure, recreation and tourism projects. Housing projects, industrial park, the list goes on. The tired ole bunch that kept the place in hick limbo is jealous of the progress, jealous of the success, jealous of the city manager that has played a big part in Pikeville's success over the last 10 years. They are more innovative, more motivated and have the wherewithal and the energy to build Pikeville into one of the most successful small towns in the Eastern Ky.
Tired old jealous political hacks that just work 24/7 to trash the council, trash the city manager for personal gain. It is obvious that 99% of these negative post are coming from just one or two individuals, no one is buying into this mud slinging political trash. Pikeville is a very different place than it was 10 years ago, all kinds of innovative and future oriented projects. Go crawl back to the 1950's and 60's you tired ole dead head. Don't get in the way of progress and change. Get you a black and white TV and an old AM radio go back to whatever pre 2004 era that suits you. The rest of would like to see the building and the progress maintained. You can have your gripe sessions in a phone booth, more than enough room for you and your only other gripe buddy.
#16 Jul 22, 2014
You must be about one year old yourself or you would know what happened around the time those famous words, "We have the best crooks in Kentucky", were put before the public. Consider what the city would still look like, if it can be called that, had it been granted the correct amount of money and the County had been granted its fair share. Anyone can turn a crap house into a mansion if handed enough of other people's money to throw around. You need to do a little research and grow up. The future is not going to continue to be as generous to your precious little town at the expense of the rest of Pike County. When PMC and Kellogg's are the only viable sources of personal income left to feed everyone else, the unbearable crowing, bragging and chest pumping won't last very long. But go ahead and live big on the coat tails of your childishly arrogant 'leaders' for now.
Dirty people, dirty politics, arrogance and childishness have driven a big wedge between Pikeville and all others in Eastern Kentucky. Recently, we saw the people come out and vote to end this suffering by replacing badly chosen politicians and that trend is destined to continue till all undesirable elements are swept out of positions from which they have attempted to control us as they personally saw fit..
#17 Jul 24, 2014
I couldn't have said it better. Pike County leadership could have done so much for the rest of us if they had not been cheated in favor of Frankie Justice and his political sucks. Seems it hurts us all out in the county when someone higher on the ladder gets pissed at someone in the county. I think that house of cards is about to tumble to the ground. Just be careful about mentioning UMG before the big overthrow.
#18 Jul 25, 2014
OF solid progress and the town is set to do more great things. All This in the face of a great national recession and despite the loss of the coal industry. No other Eastern Ky. Town has had this kind of growth and is poised to grow even as the coal industry goes away. Jealous, spiteful, vindictive old political hacks build nothing and do nothing but fill their pockets and their crony friends pockets when they wallow their way back into power.
The list of accomplishments over the last 10 years is noteworthy but the next 10 will place Pikeville as the premiere Eastern Ky. City. All anyone has to do is just look around at the progress and what is coming to Pikeville, no one listens to this negative carping and griping from a bunch of ole school political hacks that want to drag us back 40 years into the past. Wasting your time here!
#19 Jul 25, 2014
Is that you Donovan? Or is it Barry "I am FDR" Chaney?
#20 Jul 27, 2014
Pikeville Commons will draw people from the surrounding area into Pikeville to Shop, all the Tourist attractions being created will bring people into the Pikeville area, The outdoor arena/Theater, the auto venues on the weekends, the development and attractions up at Bob Amos, the EXPO now that it is under new management will be utilized more and no one counts the Main Street Live program that brings large crowds in two weekends a month during the summer. Project after project that take hard work to plan and implement developed in plain view, to many to list and do justice to on this forum.
How is it that one or two malcontents can try to tear down the progress people that were elected and appointed to do. Why? It is obvious to anyone that lives in Pike County the effort that has been put into Pikeville in order to draw people in to support the tax base and spend money at local Pikeville business. No one in Pikeville history with the exception of Dr. Hambley has made such an impact or brought as many business and tourist related projects to Pikeville. If not for the obvious intent of the person working 24/7 to do bring every opportunity to Pikeville your smear campaign might get some traction but people have eyes and can see what is being done and reasons behind it. The city manager with the blessings of the city council is doing his job and doing it well. The council has a vision and a plan to develop business and tourist attractions to Pikeville as the coal economy goes away, to grow in the face of a national and local economic downturn. Small minded individuals have always stood in the way of economic growth and progress in Pikeville "except for themselves". We have a good team in place now, men of vision with the ability to plan large projects and bring them to fruition. Other city councils around the region are sitting on their hands as the Eastern Ky. Coal Industry deteriorates before our eyes, these men are working to diversify and to do more than just survive but flourish in a new non coal economy. By the way I don't live in the city but can't help but notice the progress going on down there, just wish we had the same things going on at the County/Fiscal Court level.
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