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

September 15th, 2010
City manager interviews to conclude Wednesday

091510councilstroman

Kay Stroman of the Stroman Group discusses the city manager search with San Marcos City Councilmembers. Photo by Andy Sevilla.

By ANDY SEVILLA
Associate Editor

San Marcos officials have yet to release the names of applicants to the vacant city manager position, though the interview process began Tuesday and continues Wednesday.

San Marcos Communication Director Melissa Millecam said the city could possibly release the names of the city manager applicants as early as Wednesday evening. Millecam said councilmembers wanted to meet the applicants before their names went public.

“It’s not unusual what they’re doing,” Millecam said, adding that councilmembers are following the process they’ve used in selecting city managers in times past.

Pressed for a list of names of city manager applicants that councilmembers to be interviewed Tuesday and Wednesday in executive session, Millecam said, “I don’t have a list I can release to you at this time.”

Millecam said her directions came from the city manager’s office, which is headed by Interim City Manager Laurie Moyer.

San Marcos City Attorney Michael Cosentino has not responded to requests for information about the executive search from late last week. Cosentino also was unavailable Tuesday. His office said he was in meetings dealing with the upcoming city council agenda.

Millecam said councilmembers interviewed two candidates Tuesday and are scheduled to interview another three on Wednesday. Afterwards, Millecam said the top five candidates’ for the city manager position names will be released.

Millecam said councilmembers had identified the top five candidates for the job after vetting applications. Millecam went on to say that once the top five candidates are interviewed, the process will be more public.

According to the city’s timeline with the Stroman Group, which is facilitating the executive search, councilmembers were to interview city manager candidates this week. After a public meet and greet with the top two candidates, council is set to make a selection next week.

Councilmembers approved a contract with the Stroman Group by a 5-2 vote in August, setting a 60-day timeline to place the city’s top administrator by Oct. 1. Councilmembers Gaylord Bose and John Thomaides, who is seeking the mayor’s chair, voted in opposition to the contract.

At the August meeting, Thomaides said he voted against the contract with the Stroman Group because of his opposition to the 60-day timeline. He went on to say that the process should be allowed to develop beyond the November election that could potentially sit four new councilmembers.

Outgoing mayor Susan Narvaiz said in August that there was council consensus that “felt we needed to expedite the process prior to the (November) election,” though the reasoning behind that decision has not been disclosed.

At Tuesday’s San Marcos Area Board of Realtors debate, both mayoral candidates, Thomaides and former councilmember Daniel Guerrero, voiced disapproval with the 60-day timeline, saying more time is necessary to find the city’s next chief executive.

Meanwhile, the search for San Marcos’ next city clerk continues.

Millecam said the position is still open, though the city clerk profile on the city’s website says the application deadline was Sept. 3.

Millecam said 35 individuals have applied for the city clerk position. Millecam added that she was unsure of when the application window would be closed.

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23 thoughts on “City manager interviews to conclude Wednesday

  1. Jim Nuse for City Manager? Do we have a propensity for fired or retired City Managers from other Texas cities? If so, then we’ve got a full plate of potential candidates. David Watkins from Bryan, Tom Muehlenbeck from Plano, Angel Escobar from Corpus Christi, Alan Taylor from Amarillo, Tom Mattis from Kyle, Ruben Falcon from Fort Stockton, Frank Ragan from McKinney, and lots more (Google search yielded easily another dozen recently fired or retired City Managers (from all over Texas) in the top several pages).

    The arrogance of our Mayor and City Council in refusing to release the names and profiles of the top candidates is over the top. They selected this pool over a week and a half ago. Information request submitted last week to obtain the names and profiles (once the top candidates are presented and the top candidate pool is selected, it becomes public information), yet the city is still working on preparing the information?

  2. The big news is happening behind closed doors this week. It’s not too late to demand our Mayor and City Council open up the City Manager selection process. And I don’t mean the kind where we have to be quiet and silently observe. The top City Manager candidates should welcome the opportunity to meet and speak with citizens and stakeholders. This evaluation process is a two-way street, folks, especially if we have some candidates who are currently still gainfully employed.

  3. Steve, once again you have hit the bullseye. According to the Texas Open Meetings Act, once coucil determines the city manager candidates who will be interviewed, the names of those being interviewed become public information. It appears council members who are going along with this process without protesting or refusing to participate continue to violate not only the act but the people’s trust.

  4. So does that include current mayoral candidate John T, who has told multiple news sources that he is pro transparency…

  5. Finalists have been announced: Jeffrey Howell, City Manager of Kilgore, Tx, Scott Moore, City Manager of Peoria, Ill, and Jim Nuse, City Manager of Round Rock, Tx.

  6. Citizens have asked the current mayor to back off and let the next council do the hiring.
    All the ‘finalists’ must know what’s going on around here. The hostility/tension is palpable.
    Anyone who would take this job under these circumstances must be crazy or stupid or a ‘friend’ of Susan.

  7. Well, let’s see, Kilgore just had a huge lawsuit filed against them, Peoria has experienced Moore for only about a year, and Nuse is about as “pro-business, over everything else” as you can get. At least, that’s what I hear “on the street” since we have such difficulty getting any information from our Mayor and City Council Members.

    I know, I know, it is way too early to “second guess” our Mayor and City Council… Maybe we can somehow convince our elected leaders to give us a copy of all the written materials submitted by each of these three candidates, so we can at least have some time to review in advance of the contrived 90-minute “meet ‘n greet” scheduled for next Wednesday?

    Better yet, seriously, wouldn’t it be great if the “second round of interviews” that are scheduled to take place next week, could have the cameras on, held in public, so people can attend City Hall and see it in person, or they can watch on the City Hall channel?

    Other cities have conducted City Manager interviews in public. Why not San Marcos?

  8. Ah Charles Sims…you nailed it buddy.
    Peoria and Kilgore. How diff from San Marcos can you get? (Although early-mid 2000 pre- newbie Moore, Peoiria looks pretty good in ‘awards’ wiki) But Kilgore? Negative connotations with east Texas towns; I’ll try not to prejudice Howell though but the town meeting notes did not read like interesting progressive ideas batted around.

    So those two choices will baffle the simple San Marcos(ians) , like me, and Jim Nuse will read safe, yet clever. Round Rock! You know.

  9. Hugh,
    Thank you. Thank you very much. It is nice to be appreciated by somebody. I think, for a change, the Mayor and Council are about to make a very good choice.

    I have talked with an insider in Round Rock and Jim did not leave Round Rock under any kind of cloud. She thinks he was maybe just bored or couldn’t stand his current Mayor/Council. There is even the suggestion that he wanted to slow down the constant expansion of Round Rock. She thinks we could not do better than Jim Nuse. He is very popular in RR. He knows everyone. He shows up for everything. He likes everybody and talks to anybody who wants to talk to him. He knows city government from the ground up. He knows how to judge the debt and how to fill a pot hole. He started life as a city engineer which I really like. I think he may have learned a lot of lessons about growth in Round Rock and might just be the perfect guy to keep San Marcos on an even keel.

  10. Our Mayor and City Council Members want us to believe these are the best three candidates in the entire USA. I say, prove it! Let us know why you selected these three above the hundreds of potential candidates out there.

  11. The above positive statement about Jim Nuse for City Manager should not be interpreted to mean that I approve the selection process, only that I think we may have a good city manager on the hook. Some times the worst process possible produces good results by accident.

  12. How is Round Rock really doing financially these days? The Austin American-Statesman ran an article back in March stating the City’s Finance Director projected a $9.2 million shortfall in the upcoming annual budget. I read more recently that the proposed budget (being considered by the Round Rock City Council this month) includes a property tax rate of 41.228 cents per $100 of assessed value (up from 39.661 cents).

  13. Candidates are Howell, Moore and Nuse. A meet and greet with take place next Wednesday at 5pm Embassy Suites.

  14. Ted just wondering how you found out an hour earlier than everyone else who the finalist were since the press release wasnt sent till 7:40 PM or so… Just wondering…

  15. I think I found out at the same time as everyone else. The press release went out well before it was published on various sites.

  16. Ted I was just asking the question. But if you must know whos facebook page I read that on ( the firing of Menchaca) well it was Chris Norths page.

    our entire whole city government has just officially gone completely crazy. word.June 24 at 9:54pm ·

    And three posts later..

    yeah, our City Manager was fired in a secret, unposted meeting, 4 to 3.
    June 24 at 11:08pm

    So there you go…

  17. Mr. Sims is right about Nuse. He is a pro, for what that is worth. A big question is whether he knows US. He may have been given a rather jaundiced, maybe for him a dangerous, impression by some of the folks he has surely been introduced to. And why, if one must retire, why retire to SM? RR gave away about everything it had, for a decade or more, to become Austin North. Is the challenge now to lead us into Austin South?

    And does Nuse know clearly that he is no longer under the sheltering arm of LCRA? The water situation here is rather delicate and rather special, and GBRA is different entirely. No water to give. The Colorado ain’t the San Marcos. We live right on top of all the water we have.

  18. Also, the statements Steve makes above are spot on. The process was hasty, shabby, secretive, and a HUGE rarity in serious cities of our size. No matter what Kim P. says about that being like the way Menchaca was chosen. We found out about THAT soon enough.

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