Honoring Johann… City Council recognizes retiring Water Resources General Manager

Published 10:37 pm Thursday, June 17, 2021

There is an old saying that you won’t know how much that you appreciate someone until they are gone may not have come into play right now but somewhere down the road, many Elizabethton City Council and Elizabethton Water Resources employees may be scratching their head and saying that exact saying when they look around for Johann Coetzee and he will be nowhere to be found.

Coetzee recently retired from the Elizabethton Water Resources department as the General Manager after a career that spanned 26 years.

A native of Paarl, South Africa, Coetzee graduated from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology with a degree in structural engineering as well as studying municipal engineering.

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One of the standing jokes between Coetzee and Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander was when Alexander always requested Coetzee to be brief and due to his passion and in-depth knowledge of the water system, Coetzee could share the technical aspects as long as needed to make sure everyone understood.

Coetzee spent 10 years in Africa after graduating where he worked as an engineering consultant before coming to Elizabethton where he began working with the City of Elizabethton on January 27, 1995, as the Wastewater Plant Manager.

In October of 2011, he was promoted to manage both the Engineering Department and the newly created Water Resources Department.

Residents who receive their water service from the city owe a large amount of gratitude to Coetzee because when he arrived, there was a huge problem within the infrastructure of the water system due to leaks.

He has spent a great deal of time making sure to repair and replace those lines that were causing a great deal of treated water loss to the citizens.

Coetzee was responsible for making sure that the 11,647 water customers and 5,740 sewer customers were taken care of and whose message to his employees was always to make sure that their customers had a positive experience.

In his tenure, Coetzee worked for six Mayors, five City Managers, and six Finance Directors along with many other city employees.

During the June City Council meeting, Mayor Alexander and the City Council recognized Coetzee for his outstanding service to the city by presenting him with two plaques.

Alexander in his proclamation stated, “We want to honor and recognize Johann Coetzee on his retirement from the City of Elizabethton after 26-years of faithful service to the City of Elizabethton and would ask all citizens and residents of the City of Elizabethton to recognize and thank Johann Coetzee for his faithful service to the City of Elizabethton.”

Coetzee’s officially retired on June 10th.