Interim City Manager Joe B. Montez said the City Council could have a new manager on board as early as Nov. 16, if the schedule for accepting applications, reviewing candidates’ qualifications and conducting interviews is strictly followed.
Council members approved the schedule and a job description for the city manager after convening in a special session at 11 a.m. Monday.
The council had discussed the search at a meeting last Tuesday but members were not able to take formal action on the schedule until this week.
Montez said the notice will be published in the Bee-Picayune and in newspapers in Austin, Corpus Christi and McAllen each Wednesday and Sunday for the next three weeks. It also will be posted on Web sites operated by the TML and the TCMA.
Plans to publish notice in the San Antonio Express-News were canceled because of cost.
The deadline to receive applications will be 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6. Applications must be mailed to Montez at City Hall and copies should be e-mailed to City Secretary Tomas P. Saenz, also at City Hall.
Montez said the council should publish notice that it will meet in executive session on Oct. 16 to review the applications and choose a final five to seven candidates.
“I’m not sure how many applications we’ll get,” Montez said. He suggested that the council hold another meeting about three days after the first review of the applications to select a final three candidates.
After selecting a list of finalists, Montez said the council should begin the interview process on Oct. 28, either interviewing all three candidates on the same day or conducting the interviews over a period of a couple of days.
However, Montez suggested the council be prepared to negotiate a salary and benefits package with their final candidate by Oct. 30.
“And he comes to work at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 16,” Montez said. “The sooner the better.”
Montez has been working double duty as the interim city manager and executive director of the Bee Development Authority since he was appointed to the interim position on Aug. 18.
He said the Nov. 16 start date is based on the notion that the new manager will be able to give a two-week notice to his or her current employer. The new manager may be required to give a 30-day notice and in that event the start date would be later.
However, Montez said, the person selected could actually go to work sooner if he or she is not now employed.
“This is all subject to change,” Mayor Santiago “Jimbo” Martinez Jr. said of the timetable.
Montez said, “You don’t have to interview. You could decide this is the person you want” and end the process early.
“It’s up to you,” he said. “You’re going to have to live with this person.”
Montez reminded council members that all meetings, including the reviewing of applications, selecting the semifinalists and finalists and conducting the interviews, would be in executive session.
“The news media have always wanted the final list,” Montez said. He cautioned the council, saying that not all the finalists may want their names published because they may not want their current employers to know they are seeking another position.
City Attorney Frank Warner said he would research the matter to see if there could be any way to keep the list of finalists from becoming public.
However, an attorney who is an expert on the Texas Freedom of Information statutes said the City Council must at some point prior to hiring a city manager release the names of the finalists to the public.
“That’s the whole idea behind the Public Information Act so people in the community can debate whether or not they believe they are getting a good candidate for that appointed position,” said Houston attorney Charles Daughtry. “There are numerous Attorney General Opinions supporting the release of that information. At some point they are required to release the names and resumes of the candidates they deem to be finalists.”
Council members also approved a job description and an information package that will be made available to any interested applicants. The information package will include facts and figures about the city, its population, its sales tax collections and other data.