As a Mayor, Lions Club member, and resident of Meridian, Texas, Johnnie Hauerland has served the community for years in public service, education and government.
“I always tell all of my council members [that] if you get somebody that calls you, comes to you and wants you to do something, don’t tell them you’re gonna fix it. Tell them you’re going to look into it, because you may not be able to fix it. But people appreciate that you do. I used to tell my principals, if you promised a parent that you would return their telephone call, you make sure you return that telephone call. Even if that call does not tell what they want, at least the fact that you called, that you responded, is very important.” -Hauerland.
He was in education for 39 years, beginning as a coach, moving to assistant principal and principal, and working all the way up to Superintendent. He’s well-versed in dealing with the public, working to find a resolution to problems, and always returning calls when requested. He worked at the school during the time of integration in Texas, developing strong ties with communities of color in the process.
“I have this philosophy as far as people working for me; you hire good people and you turn them loose. If you need to make a correction, you do it privately. You don’t do it in front of everyone at a meeting.” -Hauerland. “You need to know how to approach problems so that you won’t run into any legal hassles. You’ve observed me in meetings. I don’t get upset. I try to inform people. I’m not a dictator.” -Hauerland.
He’s helped Meridian VFD with funding, and worked to develop code enforcement protocols alongside the Meridian Police Department.
“We have not raised taxes in at least three years, probably five.” -Hauerland.
Hauerland is working on a solution to the stray dog situation around town and on the outskirts. He’s been working with Mike Walker for a kennel solution at the wastewater treatment plant in Meridian, in which city employees have to check every day. With the proper certifications for dogs, they’d be able to feed, water, and walk the dogs.
He loves the character of Meridian, in that many are willing to work, give money, and give love and comfort to people. He thinks the biggest problem, however, is the lack of a consistent work force in the area. Many retirees reside in Meridian and surrounding area, often leaving the metroplex and beyond for the quiet life in the country. For business, the intersection of highways is a great opportunity, but the workforce problem compounds it.
Hauerland praised the Ministerial Alliance and Richard Creech. He thinks all churches in town are good congregations. His priorities are continuing projects with Meridian VFD, Meridian Parks & Recreation, the Bosque Farmers Market, and improvements around town. The growth of local business is another priority. He began as a council member in 2006 before becoming Mayor in Meridian. He’s served as Mayor since 2010 and previously served as Superintendent of Meridian ISD in the 90s.
“I’m a people person. I think that’s my strength. I try to help people. I tell them right off the bat, I’ll do what I can but I can’t guarantee anything. One of the biggest things I take great pride in is that I get telephone calls from people who worked for me years ago.” -Hauerland.