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July 28th, 2010
Mattis seeks San Marcos city manager job

by BRAD ROLLINS

About three and half months after his resignation, former Kyle City Manager Tom Mattis is seeking  the same position in San Marcos.

Mattis, who is credited with guiding Kyle through eight years of unprecedented residential and commercial growth but got crossways with a new mayor and city council, resigned under pressure in early April. The San Marcos City Council terminated former manager Rick Menchaca’s employment in June.

“I am uniquely positioned at this particular point in time (maybe more so than any other candidate) to offer San Marcos a rare package as its new city manager — combining a strong familiarity with the city and solid professional background with a fresh perspective new to the operation,” Mattis wrote San Marcos council members in a July 20 letter obtained by the Mercury.

He continued, “My track record of success as the city manager in Kyle over the last eight years is very evident and obvious to both government officials and citizens. There would be no mystery or lack of familiarity as to my past achievements or management style.”

The San Marcos City Council is expected to discuss the city manager and city clerk vacancies at a special meeting this afternoon.

Forgoing a costly and time-consuming search and application process for a new city manager would allow Mattis to “hit the ground running,” he wrote, and make use of his existing network of business and political leaders in the region. An executive search would take at least six to eight months and he expects to be employed by then, Mattis wrote.

“There would be a quick and seamless transition to my administration given my knowledge of the community and city operations in general, as I am very familiar with many staff members and local government officials…. Basically, San Marcos has nothing to lose and everything to gain in at least considering me for the city manager position at this time. This is a unique point in time and opportunity for both the city and I — and it would seem obvious that there should be some meaningful conversation about the possibilities of this scenario before we both move on to something else,” he wrote.

Since his departure from Kyle, Mattis has periodically surfaced in the months since as an applicant for various government executive positions.

In May, he was named in news reports as an applicant for the chief administrative position in Lake County, Fla., a county of about a quarter-million people near Orlando. That entity has not yet named someone to the position. Earlier this month, the city of Harlingen, a municipality with an estimated 2009 population of 74,950, named Mattis one of eight finalist for its city manager position.

Since Menchaca’s departure, the San Marcos city government has been overseen by interim manager Laurie Moyer; interim manager James Earp is in charge in Kyle.

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4 thoughts on “Mattis seeks San Marcos city manager job

  1. Interesting. He might have some added motivation to do an exemplary job, with the people who ran him off right next door.

  2. Oh no – This is trouble brewing again! Mattis is not a nice man – he is condescending to staff and citizens; he has no concept of transparency; and he is debt-issuance happy. Kyle’s tax rate is one of the highest in the central Texas region, with few city services to show for it. Go drive down some of the major thoroughfare roads in Kyle to see their condition. Under his tenure in Kyle, he kept the tax rate so low for years that the city is having a hard time keeping up without raising taxes by leaps and bounds now! He is not good at strategic planning. This is a quick fix for the terror that was Rick Menchaca. Choosing another individual that takes pages from Rick’s management style book is not the answer. Sometimes doing things fast isn’t the right answer. Mattis is not the answer.

  3. No kidding! Mattis is the guy that was proposing debt issuances and tax increases that were going to land Kyle with a tax rate well above Austin and San Marcos, and closing in on Pflugerville to have the highest in the region. All of that with little to show in the way of services–just spending money on shiny new things without taking care of what you have. You can’t have everything at once, and you have to take care of existing infrastructure. One only need look at San Marcos for the affect deferred maintenance can have on a city (main reason for the first Blue Ribbon Bond Committees to issue bonds to reconstruct roads/sewer/water)–and they are still playing catch-up two decades later with a high tax rate to show for it. Sure, Mattis has experienced rapid growth, but he has not “managed” it. People forget about the capacity issues they encountered with water and sewer facilities, earning the ire of TCEQ. People forget that much of the traffic congestion in Kyle was the result of a grossly inadequate transportation plan. And don’t even get me started comparing his salary in Kyle to other cities of 25,000 in this state, even the fast-growing ones in the Houston and DFW areas.

    San Marcos needs someone that understands strategic planning, has a firm grasp of fiscal responsibility, can rebuild relationships with staff, can provide effective guidance to Council and display a spine, is willing to champion the important but often overlooked issues like infrastructure maintenance, has skill in economic development and sustainability, and can take an active role in the community. Mattis is not that person.

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