San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 11th, 2008
Camareno leaves vacuum in Buda

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

BUDA – This city’s transition to the world of home rule added another component this week with the announcement that City Manager Robert Camareno has resigned to return home.

Camareno is going to New Braunfels, where he was born and raised. He will become the assistant city manager in New Braunfels.

“It makes sense for me and my family,” Camareno said.

Camareno came to Buda in October 2005 after three years as the assistant city manager and director of finance at Copperas Cove.

As his demeanor predicted, Buda has competently built on the arrival of Cabela’s with tag-along restaurants and retail, finally moved on Main Street beautification, reached agreement with Hays County for dedicated law enforcement, opened a cement truck by-pass to take large trucks off Main Street, formed several administrative departments and passed a home rule charter.

As Camareno’s demeanor and his own words on hiring also predicted, the city has not worked up a compelling vision of its future beyond more houses, more retail and better services.

The city went for an administrator and got one. Now that Camareno is leaving and the majority of a newly constituted city council is up for vote in May, the next city manager’s style and content is sure to become a campaign issue. Almost certainly, Buda’s under-manned city council won’t be able to pick a new city manager before the election in less than three months.

The dynamics in Buda have changed greatly in just more than two years since Camareno arrived. Back then, the city had a strong mayor in John Trube and needed a manager handle the administration. A vacuum suddenly exists in Buda, which is operating without a mayor or a city manager. Mayor Pro Tem Bobby Lane runs the city council meetings and the city will have to install an interim administrator.

The council is holding a special meeting Wednesday night to deliberate on the search for a new city manager, including the search for a search firm for qualified candidates.

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