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4 finalists for Port Arthur city manager include current interim manager

Port Arthur interim city manager Ron Burton was named, along with three others, as a finalist for the permanent role Monday.

The city also announced Terence Arrington, Scott Moore and DeCarlon Seewood as the other finalists. Their current positions or locations were not revealed.

Burton entered his name within the past week.

“I looked at it and I saw we are on a momentum,” Burton said Monday. “I’ve been here for 11-plus years. I’ve been at the helm of this thing for 90-plus days. I think it would be a learning curve. It would be much more of a learning curve for anyone to come in and get up to speed with where we are.”

The Port Arthur City Council received an initial list of candidates from Dallas-area firm Baker Tilly on Oct. 28 and met in another closed meeting to identify its final four candidates.

Although more than two years have passed since someone has held the permanent role, Mayor Pro Tem Harold Doucet said the search process is going fine.

“Everything is moving right on time,” he said.

Councilman Cal Jones expressed his excitement that finalists were named. He said about 14 names were included on the initial candidates list from Baker Tilly.

“We have four desirable, quality candidates,” Jones said. “From those four, we have to get the one we really want.”

Port Arthur has not had a permanent city manager since Brian McDougal resigned in November 2017. Burton served under interim managers Harvey Robinson and Rebecca Underhill before assuming the role in August of this year.

“I think we need to continue along the lines of where we are and provide that sense of comfort for the employees so we can maintain and enhance productivity,” Burton said. “Now is not the time to stop and learn on the job. Now is the time to maintain the level of productivity. We do not need to lose it. Whatever I could do to help the city, I’m prepared to do it.

“It’s not about me. It’s about the city. I have my heart truly invested in this. I’m a taxpayer, I own property in the city and I’m fully invested in the city.”

Cal Jones said he and his fellow city council members plan to begin interviews of the four candidates Nov. 13.

“Within that week, we should have a finalist named,” Jones said. “Hopefully by the first of the year, we have a city manager in place, the way it’s looking.”

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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