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

July 30th, 2010
San Marcos council seeks city manager finalist before November election

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San Marcos City Hall. File photo.

By ANDY SEVILLA
Associate Editor

The San Marcos City Council is trying to fast track the selection of a new city manager, setting a timeline to make a decision before the Nov. 2 election that could define a new council majority.

The city’s Request For Proposal (RFP) to firms interested in guiding the search for a new city manager specifies that the “placement of the City Manager candidate shall be within 60 days.”

The city council picked out a search firm at a special meeting Wednesday night, but declined to make public which firm it selected. San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz said the firm will be at next Tuesday’s city council meeting.

A 60-day time frame from the date of the Aug. 3 council meeting points to the city publicly formalizing a hire at the council’s Oct. 5 meeting, four weeks before an election that will seat a new mayor and decide four of the seven seats on the council.

The time frame also cuts in half the general length of a city manager search established in recent years by Hays County cities on the Interstate-35 corridor. Kyle’s selection of Tom Mattis in 2002, Buda’s selection of Kenneth Williams in 2008 and San Marcos’ selection of Rick Menchaca in 2008 all came at least six months after the preceding city manager’s departure was announced.

Kyle still is looking for a new city manager more than three months after Mattis’ forced resignation in April. Mattis has reportedly expressed an interest in becoming the next city manager in San Marcos.

The San Marcos City Council fired Menchaca on June 24 by a 4-3 vote.

San Marcos councilmembers could not be reached after San Marcos Local News obtained the RFP Thursday to give a rationale for expediting the choice of a city manager who stands to work with a substantially different city council. Only one councilmember is seeking re-election to her seat, though another seeks to move from his council seat to the mayor’s position.

Narvaiz announced Wednesday she will not seek re-election to a fourth straight term, leaving the race open to Councilmember John Thomaides and former Councilmember Daniel Guerrero, the only two candidates who had filed as of Wednesday. Former mayoral candidate Dan McCarthy also has announced that he will run.

Councilmember Kim Porterfield has filed for re-election to her seat against a challenge from Texas State student Griffin Spell. Councilmember Gaylord Bose said he will not seek re-election to his seat, and Planning and Zoning Commissioner Jude Prather is the only candidate to file for the position.

Thomaides has resigned his council seat to seek the mayor’s seat, though he will remain in his council position until his replacement is selected in November. Retired San Marcos Police Department officer Rodney van Oudekerke and local filmmaker Shane Scott have filed for the final two years of Thomaides’ unexpired council term.

The RFP call for city manager search proposals also requested mechanisms for city council and stakeholders to provide input for candidate profile electronically versus on-location, requested an update to a recent city manager candidate profile document after current input, and stipulated that city manager candidates will not be limited to municipal experience.

The RFP also requested a separate quote for a facilitation, vetting and selection process for city manager candidates.

The city received received seven proposals, four of which were from firms located in Texas, including one from San Marcos. The respondents were:

* The Affion Public firm (formerly Arcus Public) in Harrisburg, PA.

* The Brimeyer-Fursman firm in Maplewood, MN.

* J&D Johnson & Associates in Austin.

* Lehman Associates in Austin.

* The Pate Resources Group in Beaumont.

* The Stroman Group, LLC, in San Marcos.

* Vorhees Associates, LLC, in Deerfield, IL.

San Marcos Communications Director Melissa Millecam said the city didn’t advertise the RFP on any online website as is custom. Documents state that the firms were asked by the city to submit proposals.

The RFP also asked for assistance in the search for a city clerk to replace Sherry Mashburn, who will start a position with the City of College Station in August.

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0 thoughts on “San Marcos council seeks city manager finalist before November election

  1. People are speculating that Susan Narvaiz wants to be our next City Manager. At first, I brushed those rumors off as wild conjecture. But, now that we read the RFP stipulates: “city manager candidates will not be limited to municipal experience,” along with the fast track “get it done in 60 days” timeline, I believe any “reasonable person on the street” would look askance.

    I’m really surprised (and disappointed) our Mayor and City Council are trying to quickly shoehorn somebody into the City Manager position during the next 60 days. And, it appears we didn’t go through an open RFP process, either.

    I sure hope we have a more open and forthcoming elected leadership after the November 2010 elections. Regarding the new City Manager search, we must demand a better process if we want better results.

  2. The spectre of THAT,

    is truly bizarre.

    As I stated in an earlier post,

    Beware.

    This with the suggestion to postpone until after the election, any “mourning” or “revelry”.

  3. Does anyone remember the conversation we had on “Transparency”? The writer of the story mentioned Carma Development and what the city was willing to give Carma for this development?

    Ted, you wrote that they tried to get the TAB to move the proposed 110 Loop to the existing West McCarty twice. They are now trying to pass and amend all kinds of stuff. I requested some info from the planning dept today and they sent me a copy of a memo trying to get the 110 Loop moved to West McCarty. This loop is proposed to be a 4 lane highway. I believe Susan had TAB disbanded because of this issue. She wants to be able to pass it. I have done so much homework on this developer and their new paso robles development. It will not be a good thing for San Marcos. We need well thought out developments, we need the right development, not what Carma is proposing.

    If anyone has questions about what kind of residential development they will do, just take a drive to the last development they did here called Blano Vista off of I35. Pay attention to property lines and just how close the houses sit to each other. This new development will look a lot like that. After dense housing has been established for a length of time it has the propensity to lose a lot of value and that will spread to surrounding areas.

    Susan and our council WILL try to get all kinds of stuff passed and people hired before they lose their positions.I hope we can all come together, help each other and our beautiful little part of the world.

  4. Who is this new “Susan”? Our Old one has quit, already, no? Oh, looking back at Steve’s attempt to frighten me, I see. And I didn’t even know she had a Master’s in Public Affairs, a minimum of 5 years’ experience in the title, a Texas Public Administrator’s Certificate, or any of that customary stuff! Well, shut my mouth! And it WOULD be a shame for the “new” Council, before most even get used to the big soft chairs, to have to choose the person IT will be dealing with. Well, I say, when you have a brilliant idea, just run with it! Unless there is some objection, of course. Is this kinda like a Middle Eastern marriage by arrangement? You don’t say anything, just hope he/she is a good kisser and doesn’t smell too bad or snore a lot?

  5. Just pondering, if I were doing it all by myself, I think I might choose a manager who had lived and worked where WATER and the local biosphere were a) not an issue; b) already being bought from some muddy lake a hundred miles away, like, say, Midland; and certainly were not THE critical factor in the future. Never somebody like Ms. Moyer, who came to us long ago as a crack engineer, who knows the issues, the history and the “playahs,” and who is invested here. MY new Manager might even get cross with Laurie and beat her up or something. Maybe “let her go” if she gets too rowdy.

  6. Steve, I am still tempted to think people can still show up and speak up before asking permission in November. WHAT “wait two months and let the deliberations be secret ’til we open our new present?” I say, we might INSIST ON SOME STUFF NOW. They are, after all, OUR balls and our court and our equipment, unless I’ve missed something. And some of those Little Devils on the Dais will be IN that election, so their hearing ought to be very acute right about now.

  7. Our city deserves a professional City Manager who has bona fide experience and proven track record as a City Manager or Assistant City Manager. So, why did City Council approve removing the requirement for municipal experience for our next City Manager?

    This is a really important event and calls for an experienced search firm that has conducted successful searches for City Manager positions elsewhere. Even with a top-notch search firm already plugged in to the municipal leadership candidate pool, the search should be expected to take more like 4-6 months, not this arbitrary forced timeline of 60 days. What’s the reason for the rush? We have very able leadership in our two Assistant City Managers.

    Furthermore, we are surprised the search RFP was not posted online, and extremely disappointed our Mayor and City Council did not put the RFP through an open competitive bid process. This is not being conducted properly. Mayor and City Council, you may find a lot of citizens calling for you to answer for your actions on this.

  8. After attending the “Open House” meeting this Wednesday evening (for citizen input on the City Manager profile), I now realize we did not hire a search firm after all. I’m at a loss for words right now to describe my confusion.

    We need a top-notch search firm already plugged in to the municipal leadership candidate pool. Instead, we have an Organizational Development expert (Kay Stroman), with no experience in recruiting municipal leadership, who is somehow expected to magically pull a rabbit out the hat (select the candidate) within 60 days.

    The Mayor told me I have to file an FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) request to actually see the search RFP. Well, this will be my first FOIA request ever, and now is when we need regular citizens to band together and get into gear on finding out more about what is going on here.

  9. “The Mayor told me I have to file an FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) request to actually see the search RFP.

    ………. what is going on here.”

    power grab.

  10. B. Franklin: Sorry, power’s done been grabbed. Now the citizens seem to be in the mood to grab it back. A few even see cause to do that BEFORE the upcoming elections. And to nail it down hard AT that election.

    You just had to love last night (Aug. 3, “a date that will live in infamy”) SMCICo meeting. Great TV!

    First come H.C.Kyle III, LLP and a host of downtown and Heritage neighbors, asking the most polite, if stunning, questions. Then much-maligned and discredited troublemaker, Airport Commissioner Shaune (?) Maycock and his wife, reading into the record a section of FAA policy stating that if we turn over control of the our Airport, or ANY FAA-certified airport, we are in violation and will become instantly ineligible for any more of the Federal support we have sought and got for at least 15 years to develop our “regional feeder”/small-jet facility. They may be malcontents who “just refuse to go along, but it sure sounded as if they were reading a genuine FAA Compliance Directive. No response from on high.

    Then the discussion of a proposal to drop both the FM110 Parkway Loop plan–which has never existed. Along with a Donnybrook with irate and confused McCarty Lane residents about changing the proposed route to go on McCarty–another thing that has never even been discussed, except masybe down at the local coffee shop. This second red herring for CARMA considerations was followed by the lovely and talented, if sometimes blunt, Ms. Diane Wassenich, who wanted everybody to hear about the TRUE geology and Aquifer situation out there: CARMA runs directly over the San Marcos and Comal Springs faults, the source of our river and much of our drinking water. She seems to feel that the massive paving, building, parking and golf course to be watered with gray water from…
    well, actually, nobody has said where from, nor signed anything binding… just as another “We iintend to if we can.”

    Diane is no dummy, and it is wise not to question her, unless your homework is up to date. She claims the CARMA engineering and Environmental Impact Studies–done by the same folks who brought you the ‘Buie Tract,” is about the same quality as those done for THAT dumb and controversial project. And that the TCEQ-approved enviro assessments at CARMA are not likely to be any more factual than the ones for “the Buie” (They actually admitted to having “missed” two caves [Oh, my!], and had no idea what other water features had already been plowed under. But as yet nobody has sued or pursued a State protest of their lack of diligence regarding our water supply and the real hazards thereto.) Meanwhile, the Edwards Aquifer Authority, which has legal jurisdiction, is still perfecting its regulations for density over the Recharge Zone–almost ready, but not yet. Maybe that may be the TRUE cause for the god-awful rush on the part of both SMCiCo and the developers to get this $30 M TIRZ incentive–which we, the hayseed citizens are going to pay for. Our “Git ‘er done” leaders half-listened, but didn’t respond to Dianne. I know that woman, over decades, and she does not lie or guess. She has the facts, if one will listen.

    [Hope that everyone is aware that it is illegal or sanctionable for a licensed Texas Professional Engineer to put a Seal on anything false, misleadng, or incomplete. Complaints to the State Board of Engineering, found to be substantial, will draw big penalties, up to and including possible jail time and/or loss of licensure. Even Tricky Ricky’s “good-for- bidness” environmental regulatory appointees serve on the State Board under the cover of law.]

    The rest of the Aug.3 SMCiCo meeting went just about the same. Fortunately, some of the Council seemed to be unusually willing to accommodate the herd of citizen commentators somewhat. Mainly by sending stuff back to our diligent P&Z, which had already rubber stamped its approvals of all this “dreck” and sent it to the Council for a quick and judicial nod of no-fault approval and finalization.

    The reckoning for CARMA’s mini-village, with all its aberrations and deformities, is yet to come. But citizens need to be alert and to alert each other, or that little devil will be in, stamped “yes,” and sent off to the bank before you know it. LITERALLY. And we will be legally bound to pick up the tab and absorb any negative consequences. And the folks who did it, like the famous Thomas Nast cartoon of the Tweed Ring, will all be able to stand in a circle and point grinningly to each other. Or say “Well, the citizens approved it.” Thereby blaming Diane, a host of other non-fans, and all those who sat on their asses and never heard of the thing.

    All together now, Class: Can you say, “Deepwater Horizon”? Is all this crap really necessary? OR wise? OR “in the public interest?” Or is it just another example of political whoring of our community for $$$$$?

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