City Administrator Richard Karamatic is glad to be home, he said. On May 26, 2015, the Leesville City Council unanimously voted to install Karamatic in his position, replacing interim City Administrator Delain Prewitt.
Having grown up in Leesville, Karamatic said he is excited to be back to his roots and where he believes he belongs. He has spent the last 40 or so years working in various cities and organizations in Texas in multiple management positions.
“Anyone that grows up in Leesville takes things from Vernon Parish, issues of right and wrong, morality; that is what makes me who I am. I wanted to do something for the community that has done so much for me,” said Kara
matic on his decision to return home. “Leesville truly is a wonderful hometown, and it’s great to be back.”
Karamatic first moved here in 1956 when his father was stationed at Fort Polk. He graduated Leesville High school in 1967 then enrolled at Northwestern State University. After spending two years in the military and two years in the work force, he graduated from NSU in 1976 with a Bachelors of Science in recreation and leisure service and then moved to Dallas where he accepted a position with the city.
He spent 17 years in the Parks and Recreation department for the City of Dallas, during which time he managed the Cotton Bowl, which seats 72,000 people and hosts various annual concerts, bowl games, NCAA football games, and the Oklahoma-Texas Red River Shoot-Out. After working for the City of Dallas, he oversaw the construction of and was general manager for Infomart, the nation’s first InfoTech Convention and Conference Center. His tenure at Infomart led to a job in McAllen, Texas, on the Mexico/US border, where he managed the local theater and recreation complex.
In 2004 Karamatic moved to San Antonio, Texas to take a position as the assistant director of public facilities for the city. There, his primary focus was on converting three departments that managed the Alamo Dome and Convention Center; Lila Cockrell Theater; and the Municipal Auditorium, into one major Convention, Sports, and Entertainment Facilities Department.
Despite his long and successful career in Texas, Karamatic said Leesville never left his heart.
“I had spent all of my adult life wanting to return to my roots,” he said. “The nearest I could get besides New Orleans was Allen, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.” While in Allen, he was the general manager of the Allen Events Center Arena, which hosts concerts, rodeos, indoor sporting events, and the Miss Texas and Miss Texas Teen Pageants. He retired from his job in Allen in 2013.
In September of 2014 Karamatic and his wife, Susan, finally returned home, where he took positions working with role play at Fort Polk and as a substitute teacher at his alma mater, LHS, while he waited to hear about a position with the City.
He said he’s grateful for the opportunity to give back to the place that has shaped him to be who he is today.
“I have a good working relationship with the mayor and council,” he said, concerning his new role and goals for the future. “I think we need to beautify the city and pay close attention to the infrastructure.”
He went on to explain that citizens can expect a fairly quick turnaround in these areas, but it is not just city hall that makes a community, he said. Residents play a role by maintaining and updating their properties and by playing a part in what they want to see the city become.
While Karamatic acknowledged that Fort Polk has always played a major role in Leesville’s success, he also said he knows that the city cannot count on Fort Polk for everything. It will be a total community effort to keep Leesville on the path to growth and development. He pledged to work with current efforts already underway to maintain troop strength, improve quality of life and diversify the City’s economic base.
Karamatic said that Leesville has a wealth of leaders, both civilian and retired military leaders, within its residents and that he is looking forward to working with the mayor, the council, and volunteers to help Leesville reach its full potential.
Karamatic stressed that he has an open-door policy. He can be reached at (337) 239-2444. For more information or to schedule an interview with Mr. Karamatic please contact Mrs. Sharp at (337)378-9329.