Groves selects next city manager; new leader shares goals for tenure’s beginning

Published 12:18 am Tuesday, October 10, 2023

GROVES — It’s been quite a journey, but after months of searching, Groves has a new city manager.

On Monday, Groves City Council approved the selection of Kevin Carruth as city manager.

Carruth officially accepted the position and thanked the Council for allowing him and his wife Shawn to answer the call to serve alongside the city council and staff and to allow him to help make Groves an even better place than it is today.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Carruth takes over the spot vacated by former city manager D.E. Sosa, who submitted a separation agreement to the city in December, left after two decades. Fire Chief Lace Billeaud has served as interim city manager.

Carruth has 27 years experience in city management, having served as city manager in Rockport for 10 years and most recently worked for GrantWorks, the largest grant management company in the state, he said.

New Groves City Manager Kevin Carruth addresses council members on Monday. (Mary Meaux/The News)

He has also worked with Harris County Housing and Community Development.

He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas and a bachelor’s degree in political science and English from Texas Tech University.

His wife Shawn is a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur.

Carruth said the first few weeks as city manager will be a learning experience and he will spend a lot of time listening.

“I told the council during the interviews I don’t presume to know all the answers, I don’t even know all the questions, so I’ll be listening and we’ll take it from there,” Carruth said.

City Council will next consider approval of Carruth’s contract, likely at the next council meeting.

Groves City Council members listen as the new city manager, Kevin Carruth, speaks during Monday’s meeting. (Mary Meaux/The News)

As Carruth gets ready to take his new seat, Billeaud will go back to his position as fire chief.

“This is probably my last meeting as interim city manager, so I want to take this time to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to serve alongside y’all,” Billeaud said.

“Thank you for all the support, but I also want to thank the staff. We have a great staff here. Tremendous folks that I got to work a lot closer to, get to know even better than I did before and I appreciate that.”

Mayor Chris Borne said the process to find a new city manager is probably the one thing council worked the best together at from the start.

The search to find a new city manager spanned months as city leaders first looked to hire a search firm to handle the task. They hired Slavin Management Consultants, who met with city council and staff to find what they wanted in a city manager.

From there the company began to recruit candidates.

During the process the candidates were whittled down to three; Kevin Carruth, Bart Bartowiak and Lamar Ozley.

A series of interviews were held, leading up to Monday’s selection of Carruth.