, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

July 17, 2014

PA Council sets parameters for city manager search

PORT ARTHUR — By Sherry Koonce

The News staff writer

Port Arthur’s search for a new city manager was honed Thursday when City Council reviewed a draft profile for suitable candidates.

Council decided to open the search to not only candidates city manager experience, but also those who have served as assistant city managers.

Though they decided successful candidates should have 10 years managerial experience in a full service city, the Council was split on whether to someone without actual city manager experience should be included.

“When we open up the search to assistant city managers we will have  a lot of assistant city managers applying when we are really looking for a city manager,” Raymond Scott, District 1 councilman, said.

Morris Albright III, District 3 councilman, said he worried an assistant might not be up to the task of implementing all the changes the city of Port Arthur is planning for the city.

Position 8 Councilwoman Kaprina Frank disagreed with the strict city manager requirement.

“I was an assistant just waiting for an opportunity,” she said.  “There could be a tough, great assistant city manager out there.”

District 5 Councilman Willie “Bae” Lewis agreed that the search should include assistant managers.

“An assistant city manager may be strong, but politics may be keeping him or her from getting in that position,” Lewis said.

Scott said because of the time factor, he was concerned about the number of candidates the city would have to look at if assistant city managers were allowed to apply for the Port Arthur job.

Going on six months has passed since former City Manager Floyd Johnson and the city severed ties.  Since then, the city has hired  Strategic Government Resources to lead the search for a suitable new manager.

City Council and city leaders have detailed to SGR what they are looking for in a city manager. At Thursday’s workshop they discussed the draft version of the city manager profile which will be used as a tool to get the best candidates for the job.

SGR representatives will be  in Port Arthur at Monday to provide a final draft for Council’s review.

Lewis reminded Council it was not their job to sift through every applicant, but rather to rely on SGR to do that, then bring the best 10 or 12 to Council.

Albert Thigpen, human resources director, said the draft profile detailed other attributes and qualifications a good city manager will possess.

The city’s new manager should be able to:

• Transform the city into what is known as a high performing organization; have the ability to get the best from city employees;

• Guide the city through the finalization of the update of the city’s comprehensive master plan;

• Create a revised financial and developmental plan for the city;

• Fully implement the GIS system;

• Have the ability to successfully negotiate industrial agreements with local industry;

• Address infrastructure issues such as streets and water lines;

• Work closely with the City Council in mapping out and implementing plans to move the city forward;

• Promote re-development of the city’s downtown area;

• Foster an environment that will grow the city’s population.

Thigpen said he is very satisfied with the consultant firm so far, and feels they will be capable of finding an excellent new manager.

In the meantime, the city is not in a hurry, he said.

“We do have an interim city manager. That means we are not a ship without a captain,” Thigpen said.

City Council also plans to discuss the formation of a citizens group to be involved in the city manager selection process on Monday.

E-mail: skoonce@panews.

Twitter: skooncePANews  


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