By Thomas Sellers Jr.
If you’re familiar with Millington, the name Haley has been a part of folklore for decades.
Whether it’s A. Edgar Haley, a well-known educator, or his younger brother Edward G. Haley, a longtime political figure in Flag City, the name Haley is well known in these parts.
Recently Edward “Ed” Haley was named the new city manager of Millington.
The news spread across the community including the local paper. But a picture of the other “Ed” Haley appeared along with the article to welcome back Edward to Millington City Hall.
“I’m back home,” Edward said. “I was born and raised on the same farm I live on right now. In fact, that brother who’s picture is in the paper and my other brother Floyd and two of my sisters live on the same farm we were brought up on Armour Road.”
Over the years, the identities of the Ed’s have been mixed up because both brothers have been involved in bettering their hometown.
The younger Ed’s path to becoming Millington’s city manager started with his graduation from Millington Central High School in 1956.
Haley, 77, got busy building a resume that made city officials offer him the job. Edward served on the Millington Board of Alderman from 1972 to 1990.
Then he moved to Nashville and served on the State House of Representatives for 8 years. In addition, Haley served 14 years as the town superintendent for Arlington, and 27 years with Shelby County over road and bridges.
Haley has other notable marks on his resume’ and the latest job is city manager of Millington.
“They needed some stability,” he acknowledged. “Five people have been in this job over the last 2 years. They asked me to come in and try to help them get things stabilized and back to normal.
“Because I do care, I felt like if I had anything to offer, I should go help out in my hometown,” Haley continued. “There’s a lot of challenges here. But there isn’t anything that can’t be made better if we work together as a team. What I want to do is try to take the good group of employees we’ve got and put a group together to where we can improve the services that the city offers. And expected them where we can. Also at the same time, try to help recruit some more industry and job creation for the community.”
Haley has spent the last decade helping Arlington grow. Now he comes back home to take on a different community.
“A lot of things are very possible,” he said. “You have a municipal school district now. The challenge here, we’ve got about 42 percent rental property of all our residents. Arlington I think it’s about 8 percent — big difference.”
Millington’s average age is slightly older than Arlington and the income is about half of Arlington’s. There are more houses by percentage in Arlington.
“But one thing Millington’s got that Arlington doesn’t have, a huge retail base,” Haley noted. “A lot of restaurants, service stations, you’ve got Lowe’s here, Walmart here. You’ve got a lot of retail sales that is real helpful in financing the services you have to provide.”
Haley acknowledged some of Millington’s infrastructure is aging and needs repair. He said those projects will be addressed in phases.
Another major goal of the new city manager is to take advantage of Millington’s other strength — access.
“The real thing about the land, you’ve got 385, Highway 51, Singleton Parkway, Raleigh-Millington Road, the railroad track coming through here and the Mississippi River is nearby,” he noted. “And you’ve got the third largest airport in the state of Tennessee as far as runway length. And Veterans Parkway is a new one that has opened up in the past couple of years that allows access to all the industrial property left to the city by the Navy. So there’s a lot of potential here.”
Haley also sees potential in the people he will work with daily.
“For me, my goal at 77 years of age you’re not looking for a career,” he said. “What I hope to do is take the younger people who are here trained and experienced to the point where they take over this position. And the city not have to go out and search for a person. But have a person in place by the time I leave that can just take right on over and keep on going.”
Haley said the main objective of the city of Millington employees is to service the residents of Flag City.
“I work for, this position works for the mayor and the board,” he said. “Mayor and board are elected by the citizens of this city. And the employees, even thought they work through me, we all work as a team for all the people in this city.
“My goal is to stress the importance of everybody from the person who picks up your trash can to the guy who patches up the pot holes in the street,” Haley concluded, “to the guy who’s putting out the fires as a firefighter to the policeman who is wearing his badge to enforce the law. Every employee is important and has as great value to the services we provide.”