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
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.Email | Print