As most of you already know, Van Alstyne has to begin a search for a new city manager. The City Council and I are asking for input from citizens, and we would greatly appreciate as much opinion as we can gather from you. Neither I nor the council have a great deal of experience in such a search, though we all have thoughts as to what we will need in a new city manager.
There has been some discussion in executive session as to how we should proceed, and one unanimous notion was that we will need the thoughts of the citizens. A more official start of the search will begin as a special called council meeting on Monday, Oct. 23 at 5:30 P.M. in the Community Center. It is our hope that we will have input from citizens prior to that meeting so that we will be able to sort the comments and recommendations in order to see whatever consensus there is. The public portion of the meeting will be very brief. There will be no time to listen to comments at that time because as soon as the special meeting is convened, we will be moving into executive session to try and get off to a good start.
As for your input, please contact me or your favorite council person via email, phone or whatever means is convenient for you. Contact information is on the City’s web site. My own phone number and email are 903-421-3422 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are free to mention the names of individuals if you like, but what we are more interested in are your thoughts about the qualifications with which you are most concerned and also the character traits for which you would hope. For instance, there are post-graduate degrees in city administration and management; there are accountants, engineers and there are individuals trained in emergency management. As for character traits I think honesty and integrity are givens — otherwise there are individuals who are gregarious, and there are highly skilled men and women who are more reserved. Do you want a city manager who acts politically or someone who enforces the law with few or no exceptions? These are just a few examples of the type of person you believe would best suit the city. You will have many more ideas and adjectives.
Please keep in mind that we are looking for a person who will head up the executive branch of our local government, not a legislator. Please remember the fact that our form of government here is what is called a city manager plan. Under this plan the council and I are the legislative branch of local government while the city manager is the chief executive. The legislature makes the law and the city manager is the person who sees to it that the laws are enforced. He enforces the law through managing his various departments (public works, police, fire/EMS, etc.).
One more thing on which we would like you input: the mayor and council are elected volunteers here and draw no pay. The city manager should be a skilled executive, as he or she must be paid. In big, round numbers, how much do you think such a person should be paid in annual salary?
Of course, the above is just a short list of the kinds of things upon which we want your thoughts. We hope you will have much more to say.
I thank you in advance for your consideration and assistance.
Best wishes for all of you,
Mayor Larry Cooper