Larry Maness thought he was going to a surprise birthday party for Doug Webb Thursday night.

Instead he was going to his own surprise party marking his 40th anniversary with the Booneville Water Department.

The birthday party ploy was believable because Webb is a member of the Booneville Water Commission which oversees the department for which Maness is the superintendent.

Although the party was held on the actual anniversary of the day Maness officially began his career with the department he was nonetheless surprised.

“While we were going there I saw Don Murray’s truck and Don would be at Doug’s surprise birthday party,” Maness said. “I said well Don Murray is already there.”

Maness started with the department in a general labor position — he actually helped build the fence around the lake before being officially employed.

Once a new water plant was constructed in 1980 Maness was promoted to water operator.

Since Maness started his career the department has built a new water supply lake, a new water plant, a new sewer plant, a new office, which has also expanded.

Maness assumed the role of superintendent about a year and a half ago when David Hardin retired.

Since that time he has worked with the city council to add a meter fee to help fund future constructions, led a revision of the ordinance that governs the department, and authorized creation of a new website through which customers can pay their bills and sign up for department alert notifications.

When Maness began his career Bob Brown was the superintendent and Paul Gene Wisley was the chairman of the water commission.

Today the board includes Webb, Murray, David Remy and Darrin Bulger and Maness oversees a staff of six.

Maness said he expects to be with the department for another “three to 10 years.”

Maness and his wife Debra have two children, Bryan and Holley, and three grandsons.