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STAFF REPORT

The San Marcos Mercury obtained this list of finalists for San Marcos City Manager:

Karen Daly has 28 years of local government experience and is currently Assistant City Manager for Sugar Land, Texas. She has also served as City Manager for Greenville, Texas, and Assistant City Manager for Longview, Texas. In addition, Daly has worked for the City of Arlington, Texas, and for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Daly holds a Master of Urban Affairs and a Master of Social Work Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.

James Earp has worked for the City of Kyle, Texas, since 2006 and currently serves as Assistant City Manager. Previous positions held in the City of Kyle include Interim City Manager, and Interim Administrative Police Chief, Planning Director, Human Resources Director, and Public Works Director. Earp has nine years of experience in local government and has also worked for the City of Ennis, Texas, and the City of Burleson, Texas. Earp has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Charles Ewings has 17 years of local government experience and has served as Assistant City Manager for Longview, Texas, since 2007. He previously served as Interim City Manager and Director of Development Services for the City of Longview. He has also worked for the East Texas Council of Governments, the Cities of Denton and Southlake, Texas. Ewings has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Tansy Howard has 11 years of local government experience and is currently Assistant City Manager/Neighborhood and Community Services Director for Tacoma, Washington. She has also held the positions of Acting Deputy City Manager, Assistant City Manager, and Assistant to the City Manager for Tacoma. In addition, she previously worked for the City of Des Moines, Iowa. Howard holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kansas.

Jared Miller has 14 years of local government experience and has been Assistant City Manager for North Richland Hills, Texas, since 2007. He has also served as City Manager for Snyder, Texas, and Crosbyton, Texas. In addition, Miller has worked for the South Plains Association of Governments and for the City of Lubbock. Miller has a Master of Public Administration from Texas Tech University.

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14 thoughts on “San Marcos City Manager finalists include Kyle’s Earp

  1. Nikki J Walters

    Our city is full of fine employees. This exchange on Facebook today suggests that Nikki J. Walters, the training and development coordinator in the city of San Marcos’ Human Resources department, may not be one of the finest.

    I think it’s kind of tone deaf of her to defend playing on Facebook during work hours by prissily referring to “our handbook and wonderful benefit plans that entitle us to breaks, sick time and vacation days.”

    Does she not know that she works for a city where the median income is $27,597? That nearly 1,200 of our citizens were unemployed in October and thousands more are under-employed, working part-time jobs without benefits. Certainly not the benefit of wiling away work time on Facebook.

    Am I just irritated because she talked smack about the Mercury’s hard-won ‘exclusive’ getting the list of finalists 15 minutes before anyone else today (which the Daily Record still has not bothered to put online five hours later)? Yes — of course — clearly I am.

    But that doesn’t detract one bit from the irritation San Marcos taxpayers should feel at paying this person’s salary so she can sneer at their lowly status through social media. I think she or her supervisor should be held accountable for apparently using taxpayer time and equipment to play on Facebook — and for using that platform to insult the people who pay her bills.

    I hope our new city manager takes note.

  2. I noticed that 3 of our 5 finalists have degrees from UT Arlington. Is this a coincidence, is this degree one that UTA specializes in, or does someone on the search committee also have ties there?

  3. I’m not too impressed with the resumes, I’ll admit.

    Can it really be that a couple of assistants from towns who are developmentally behind us like Kyle or Longview (with no experience as the “boss” to boot) and a couple of former managers from podunks like Greenville or Snyder are the best we can find right now?

    Not one of those candidates seem qualified to handle the issues specific to San Marcos – particularly where University relations are concerned.

    At least the lady from Tacoma dealt with UW – but again, she doesn’t appear to have ever sat in the #1 chair.

  4. I’d argue that Kyle is not developmentally behind us. They have attracted some nice employers, and have dealt with significant growth that goes beyond apartments.

    I don’t know if I am really excited about any of the candidates, and I don’t want to be another Kyle, but Earp seems like the candidate most likely to understand San Marcos and could bring some new ideas.

    I kept gettign php errors earlier, and I don’t see my comment(s). So, at the risk of repeating myself, if they show up later, I’m switching to the anonymous camp. I’m not even certain I will stick around in that capacity.

  5. I don’t know that massive Kay-Bee (or whatever equivalent builder they actually used) subdivisions are really any better than apartments in the long run.

    Also, much of the recent development in Kyle has been big box retail along the interstate….which we did here years ago. Ditto the hospital. Yeah, it was a great deal for them, but we’ve had one here for years as well.

    Kyle is growing rapidly, of that there is no doubt. But for all of their growth, they’re not really doing anything that San Marcos hasn’t “been there, done that” for years. That’s why I said they were behind us developmentally. I really didn’t mean it as a knock on Kyle so much as it was a wish for someone who was experienced in guiding a more developed community as opposed to one that was newly developing.

  6. Since Mr. Earp most likely already lives in Kyle, I doubt he would be moving into San Marcos if he gets the job. I am just speculating here, though. I would almost rather see someone else on the list if for no other reason than they will need to move here and would most likely live in the city. I think it is important for high ups in the city to actually live here.

  7. Sorry, I spoke out of turn. Earp apparently took online classes via Harvard’s extension program. What a joke. Google Kappa Alpha. Do we really want a Texas Cowboy from Tarleton State? Is that a junior college?

  8. Brad, I don’t know you other than from this site and I don’t know Nikki at all. You are both behaving like 7th grade girls but you are the one who is wrong. Normally, I would just roll my eyes and move on but you asked. Public spats like this are beneath you and reflect poorly on you and the Mercury brand. Nikki’s post was made from her personal account and was not intended to represent her employer. Her post clearly says it was posted from mobile. Unless she has a city issued phone, she wasn’t using city resources. I doubt she has to clock out for breaks so if she says she was on a break I’ll give her the benefit of doubt.

    Getting a press release and posting it verbatim is not an exclusive even if you get it 15 minutes sooner than everyone else. An exclusive requires that you did some work to produce the piece of information. Apparently you never even Googled the candidate names or you would have realized that they had a typo in Tansy Hayward’s name.

    And so what if you beat the Daily Record to the story? Despite having a website, they are not an online news source. They post “the paper” online as it was printed and make little to no effort to update stories after initial posting.

  9. Suzanne,

    As for Nikki J. Walters, it does not matter if she posted the information from a mobile device. If she did it on city time and if she did it using the city wireless network — or even sitting in a city chair — she misused public property and should be held accountable. (See also: Who are these jokers on the public payroll? This is the employee who is supposed to train other employees about proper behavior?)

    You are right, though, that the larger issue is City Hall’s flaunting of the Public Information Act. It was a bit too much to be ridiculed by a city employee for failing to get the names earlier when the city itself was the party withholding information that rightfully belonged to the public.

    On Nov. 18, I requested the names of the finalists under the Texas Public Information Act. As I suspected they would, the city delayed releasing the finalists’ names in violation of state law. I did not press this issue. Instead, I was cooperative by accepting city officials’ assurances that they simply wanted to make sure all the finalists had notified their current employers that they had applied.

    All this time, SGR Executive Search (i.e. Strategic Government Resources of Keller) was telling the city council — in error — that they could legally withhold the names of finalists because, technically, the information was in the possession of the search firm, which would claim it was exempt from disclosure as proprietary if requested under the Public Information Act. The attorney general ruled definitively on this issue nearly 25 years ago and SGR surely knew they were advancing a specious argument; they used it any way as a delay tactic to avoid complying with state law. I did not press this issue, either. Also worth noting: The names of all the applicants are public information, not just the finalists. Again, I did not press this issue.

    In other words, I acted with restraint in this situation as a courtesy to the city’s selection process. We clearly had difficulty attracting qualified applicants — a difficulty exacerbated by SGR’s ridiculously cumbersome application process — and I did not want to do anything to hurt us even more. Now that we can see the generally lackluster crop of finalists, it’s apparent I could have been more aggressive without hurting a thing.

    I see this as yet another failure of the Daniel Guerrero administration. His endorsement of, and complicity in, an intentional and calculated violation of the Texas Public Information Act does not appear to have served any public good. Instead, it sets a bad example for city employees, a very small minority of whom — people like Nikki J. Walters — seem to believe they are can behave as unprofessionally as the mayor regularly does.

  10. Nikki should go anonymous for the same reason I do. Whatever you say here reflects on your employer whether you think it’s fair or not. And Nikki has even more reason not to post her name since many readers are, in effect, her employer if they live in San Marcos. As to Nikki’s reference to “breaks”, professional people don’t take breaks.

  11. Kyle has not done everything right nor has it done everything wrong. I stand to be corrected, but the one thing Kyle has experienced that San Marcos has not has been the explosive growth that has really not given the city time to catch its breath. My dealings with James Earp have been limited, and we are really not close, but I have found him to be pleasant. My conversations with him indicate that he is not so full of himself as to be a detriment to any city with whom he associates. Given the explosion of growth in Kyle in recent years I would suggest that he has learned many valuable lessons. I wish him well.

  12. Brad, I’ve never met you or Nikki J Walters, but it would be nice if you’d both take your petty little spat and settle it behind the bicycle shed, like all the other little kids do.
    Let’s get back to the candidates, please.

  13. What is missing from all of these candidates is real experience living and working in a college town. There are pros and cons to having such a large university in such a small city and it would have been great to get someone that has some experience dealing with the town & gown issues. We have experienced tremendous growth this past year – more apartments, bars, and vapor/smoke shops, while still maintaining a significant number of convenience stores, pizza shops and tattoo parlors.

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