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

August 11th, 2010
City council approves city manager profile

081110council

Clockwise from the left, San Marcos City Councilmembers Gaylord Bose, Ryan Thomason, John Thomaides, Mayor Susan Narvaiz and Councilmember Kim Porterfield at a conference table Tuesday night as the council decided to approve a city manager profile. Photo by Andy Sevilla.

By ANDY SEVILLA
Associate Editor

A revised profile for a new city manager in San Marcos will be made public later Wednesday, but the specific contents weren’t yet known after the city council approved it Tuesday night.

Kay Stroman of the Stroman Group, the consultant hired by the city to assist with its search for a top executive, said the profile doesn’t contain “significant changes,” except as requested by citizens during a period of public input last week.

Whether that means the updated profile deletes a requirement for municipal experience remains to be seen. The city council’s documentation has requested that the requirement be removed. However, Stroman said the public told her last week that it wants candidates to have city management experience. Stroman added that public wants the city manager to be approachable, to have good communication skills and to have strong leadership skills.

Stroman said said the employment vacancy with the candidate profile will be posted in several online websites Wednesday, including in the Texas Municipal League, Association of City Managers, American Public Work Association, Government Jobs, Texas City Management Association, and the International City/County Management Association.

The city manager position will be advertised until Sept. 2 at 5 p.m., in an effort to compile a short list of potential city manager candidates and name one by Oct 1. In the contract with the Stroman Group, the city stipulated a 60-day timeline to name a city manager.

Though several councilmembers expressed concern with the timeline, the city moved forward with the contract. Several residents have complained that the process is being rushed. San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz said she disagrees.

“There is a lot of vetting going on, so there is no rush on this (executive) search,” Narvaiz said at the Aug. 3 council meeting.

Narvaiz is not seeking reelection to the mayor’s seat, but is determined to select a new city manager selected before her departure in November.

“Many of us (at least four councilmembers) felt we needed to expedite the process prior to the (November) election,” Narvaiz said last week.

Councilmember John Thomaides, who is seeking the mayor’s office, said at the Aug. 3 meeting that he was troubled by the 60-day timeline, which falls before a council election that could potentially sit four new councilmembers.

Thomaides went on to say that the search process should be allowed more time, allowing the newly elected council could select the new city manager. He said that the new city manager “may want to know who they’re working for and with.”

Stroman, who has no experience in searching for a city manager, said that in the private sector, where she has conducted searches for chief executive officers (CEO) and top-level executives, it is not unusual to set short timelines.

“(A timeline of) 60 days is not uncommon,” Stroman said, adding that it could also take 90 or 120 days to conduct an executive search. Stroman said it “depends on how aggressive you want to be.”

Stroman was awarded the $20,000 contract to conduct an executive search last week by a 5-2 vote, with Thomaides and Councilmember Gaylord Bose in opposition.

Councilmember Chris Jones initially voiced disapproval with hiring a search firm and instead wanted city staff to conduct the executive search, but later voted to approve the contract. Interim City Manager Laurie Moyer said that due to staff shortages, it would be difficult for city staff to take on the task.

After a public meet and greet session with the top two city manager candidates, the city council will make a selection for city manager and city clerk during the week of Sept. 20.

Former City Manager Rick Menchaca was fired by a 4-3 vote in June, though councilmembers supporting his ouster wouldn’t comment on specific details behind their vote, except for citation of his performance evaluation. Menchaca’s evaluation showed average results, but also stated that his management style bred a “fear factor” at City Hall.

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8 thoughts on “City council approves city manager profile

  1. Has anybody seen the City Manager position search posted online yet? This evening, I went to a number of the sites it was supposed to be posted to today, and none of them have this position listed. I checked Texas Municipal League (tml.org), American Public Work Association (apwa.net), Government Jobs (governmentjobs.com), Texas City Management Association (tcma.org), International City/County Management Association (icma.org), none of them have the San Marcos City Manager position listed (although I found plenty of other City Manager positions listed for other cities). Stroman also said the position would be posted on Monster (monster.com) and HotJobs (hotjobs.yahoo.com), but neither of those sites have it listed yet, either.

  2. I checked again this afternoon just now at Texas Municipal League (tml.org), American Public Work Association (apwa.net), Government Jobs (governmentjobs.com), Texas City Management Association (tcma.org), International City/County Management Association (icma.org), and still none of them have the San Marcos City Manager position listed. It seems like we’d want to make it easy for prospective candidates to know about the open City Manager position. Anybody know what’s up with the postings?

  3. I have only been successful in finding the city manager and city clerk profiles on the city’s website. Though the other websites where the profiles were to be advertised are not yet showing them. Kay Stroman did tell me yesterday (8/11) she had to do some last minute fixes to the city manager profile stemming from the Aug. 10 special council meeting, and then it would take the websites a day or so to put the profiles up. But the profiles can certainly be found on the city’s website as of early today.

  4. Andy, as it has been repeatedly pointed out amid the tumult, one cannot do a REAL search at this level, in the public’s interest, in 60 days or less. Public transparency or not. Public business or not. We just need to move on. You will eventually locate what you and Steve are looking for, if you just wait.

  5. I am glad to see the City Manager position is starting to show up on job posting sites this afternoon finally. With the hubbub these days (different things seem to keep popping up), our next City Manager really needs to be a seasoned professional with impeccable track record in municipal leadership.

    At the end of Tuesday’s Executive Session, during the Q&A segment, I asked who will receive a copy of the top City Manager candidate profiles to review and respond. Our Mayor said it would be the full City Council only, not anybody on City Staff, not any citizens, just the Mayor and City Council.

    To help us make the best City Manager selection possible, I believe we would greatly benefit by having more people involved in the assessment of top candidates than just the Mayor and City Council.

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