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Tohme, 3 others finalists for city manager

By Ken Stickney

ken.stickney@panews.com

The city of Port Arthur’s director of public services has made the cut of four finalists for the position of city manager.

Dr. Hani J. Tohme is one of many — perhaps 10 — candidates who applied to replace interim city manager Harvey Robinson, who has served in that temporary role since December 2017. Robinson came out of retirement to take temporary reins at City Hall and will return to retirement after the final candidate is chosen.

The final selection date, according to a city schedule, is March 17.

Tohme, who owns Golden Triangle Consulting Engineers, has served the city as interim water utilities director and later as director of public services. Under his direction, the city has launched an ambitious road repair program and has created a pipe-bursting crew to replace decaying city water lines.

By profession, he is an engineer who holds undergraduate degrees in biology and civil engineering and a master’s in engineering. He also earned a doctorate in engineering management.

He previously served as water utilities director and city utilities director for the city of Beaumont, was a full-time and adjunct instructor in engineering at Lamar University and worked as a civil engineer and project manager for Allied Engineering in United Arab Emirates.

Other finalists include: Natasha L. Henderson, a management consultant and former city administrator for the city of Flint, Michigan; David Strahl, former city administrator for the city of O’Fallon, Missouri; and Henrietta Turner, city manager in Floresville, Texas.

Henderson’s experience in government management dates back to 2001, when she was assistant to the city manager in Texarkana, Texas and later director of quality assurance and public relations. She was city manager/city administrative officer in Muskegon Heights, Michigan from 2008-2015 and city of Flint city administrator/chief administrative officer for a year, starting in February 2015.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and a master’s of business administration from Texas A&M University-Texarkana.

Strahl was city administrator at O’Fallon, Missouri for a year starting in October 2017. He had been assistant village manager for the Village of Mount Prospect, Illinois from 1993 to 2016. He also served as administrative coordinator for the city of St. Charles, Illinois for seven years.

Strahl holds a bachelor’s in political science from Manchester College in Indiana and a master’s in public administration from Northern Illinois.

Turner has been city manager in Floresville since 2013 and was village manager in Sauk Village in Illinois and city manager in the City of Country Club Hills in Illinois, where she worked from 1995-2011.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in architectural design from Prairie View A&M and an MBA from DeVry University. She completed certification as a public manager at Texas State University.

The City Council has met on several occasions in executive session to discuss the search for a new city manager — the position was initially posted in December — including Feb. 5 when it met to “discuss the duties and responsibilities of the city manager” and Tuesday, when it met in a special meeting to discuss the duties and responsibilities of the city manager and deliberated “the appointment of the position of city manager.”

City spokeswoman Cheryl Gibbs said interviews may be completed by March 2 and the city is on schedule to meet the March 17 appointment.

The City Council is not scheduled to meet again until Feb. 26.