PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

September 29, 2011

PA city manager search in full swing

— Now that the city of Port Arthur’s budget process is completed, City Council is turning its full attention to the search for a new city manager.

At their Oct. 4 regular meeting, City Council is expected to define parameters for the search and define a candidate profile.

Human Resource Director Albert Thigpen said he expects the Council to select a search firm within the next two weeks, then proceed with the formal announcement and move on into candidate recruitment.

Already different search firms have expressed interest in helping the city find a new manager.

All that have inquired about the opportunity of assisting the city in its search have experience on a national level, Thigpen said.

“At this point the Council anticipates conducting a nationwide search to find the most optimal candidate for the position,” he said.

Current City Manager Steve Fitzgibbons’ last day will be Jan. 15.

Fitzgibbons has held the position for the past 15 years, but turned in his resignation in August after forging a settlement of a potential lawsuit agreement with the city.

Per the agreement, the city will pay Fitzgibbons $224,681, $50,000 of which will be paid from the Texas Municipal League Inter-risk Pool.

The payment fulfills the terms of a previous binding agreement Fitzgibbons had with the city detailing separation terms. In turn, Fitzgibbons agreed to drop a grievance filed against the city in March charging retaliation and harassment, and to release the city from any liability of a potential lawsuit.

Typically, a city manager search can range from 30 days to six months, Thigpen said.

At this juncture, the city believes a new city manager will be in place by the time Fitzgibbons leaves.

“We have a fairly aggressive timetable, but do believe we are on schedule,” Thigpen said.

At this time how much it will cost the city to engage the services of a search firm is not known.

Thigpen said the cost would be determined based on how big of a role the Council wants the firm to play.

skoonce@panews.com

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