Round Rock City Manager Jim Nuse, chosen by the San Marcos city council as the next city manager in San Marcos. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
After a two-hour executive session Tuesday night, the San Marcos City Council named Jim Nuse as the lone candidate for the vacant city manager position just five weeks before an election that could sit a new council majority.
Nuse is the city manager for Round Rock, though he presented that city’s council with his resignation in June. Nuse’s resignation was to take effect in January.
The council picked Nuse over the two other finalists — Peoria, IL, City Manager Scott Moore and Kilgore City Manager Jeffrey Howell.
All three candidates met with citizens in a session on Sept. 22, then met again in executive session with the city council later that evening. The executive session included interviews with the candidates, after which the council made no decision. Councilmembers said they would use the time before Tuesday’s special session to mull over comment cards presented by residents during the public “meet and greet.”
Public speculation has given wings to a rumored letter in which Nuse is alleged to have withdrawn himself for consideration the morning after last week’s executive session. Kay Stroman, who is running the executive search for the city, would not comment on the alleged letter and felt “uncomfortable’ answering questions, before referred the query to the city Communication Director Melissa Millecam.
Millecam said Tuesday night that an open records request would have to be filed with the city government for any information regarding Nuse’s alleged letter, though she said she’s not confirming a letter exists.
Nuse said last week that his resignation from Round Rock was not retirement from employment, but a retirement from a city he’s worked for since 1983. He said he wanted to retire from Round Rock when the city was in good shape and hadn’t considered who his next employer would be, though he admitted he looked forward to the possibility in San Marcos.
Nuse has served as Round Rock’s city manger since January 2003. He also has worked for Round Rock in different capacities since 1983, serving first as an engineer and assistant director of public works, followed by service as public works director for 17 years, before being promoted to chief of operations/assistant city manager.
The San Marcos City Council fired Rick Menchaca as city manager on June 24 by a 4-3 vote. Menchaca’s annual salary with San Marcos was $170,000 plus benefits, while Nuse’s salary with Round Rock is $180,939.
Council directed Stroman Tuesday night to begin contract negotiations with Nuse. He’s likely to be appointed to the position as early as Oct. 5.
Nuse will take the city’s top job in the midst of an election cycle, an atmosphere of low morale at City Hall and mistrust of government by swaths of the constituency.
Residents have continuously pummeled councilmembers with criticism in open session, saying the council is rushing the city manager hire. Some residents have asked the council to wait until after the November election that will decide four of seven council seats.
The council voted, 5-2, to hire Stroman as the consultant to head the executive search with a 60-day timeline, with councilmembers Gaylord Bose and John Thomaides in opposition. Stroman previously had no experience with municipal executive searches.
Outgoing Mayor Susan Narvaiz has said that there was consensus on the council (at least four councilmembers) that the selection process should be substantially completed before the election, but she has not provided specific reasons for the decision.
Narvaiz has defended the council’s decision to name a city manager before the election by comparing the 2010 executive search to the search that named Menchaca in 2008.
San Marcos Assistant City Manager Collete Jamison said last week that the 2008 and 2010 executive searches have consisted of roughly the same amount of time from the advertisement of a candidate profile to the selection of a lone candidate. Jamison said it took about a month to finalize a candidate profile in 2008. In 2010, the city made a few adjustments to the 2008 profile, streamlining the process.
Stroman said last week that the 2008 search may have been about a week or two longer than this year’s from when the candidate profile was advertised to the naming of the lone finalist.
In early September, Stroman presented the council with the top five candidates for the job after she took 67 applications from interested parties in the position. The council interviewed the five candidates on Sept. 14-15, before deciding on the top three finalists.Email | Print