After a search process that took just over five months, the city of Jersey Village officially named Austin Bleess to be the new city manager, effective March 20. Jersey Village Chief of Police Eric Foerster will serve as interim city manager until Bleess begins.
Here are three things to know about Jersey Village's new city manager.
Bleess comes to Jersey Village all the way from Caribou, Maine
Bleess has served as city manager for the city of Caribou for the past four years. Managing the full-service community included working with the city's police department, fire and emergency medical service teams, public works, and parks and recreation departments.
"Caribou is a community of about 7,900 people," Bleess said. "However it is a land area of just over 80 square miles. The amount of infrastructure that we have to maintain is quite large."
Bleess has experience in economic development
Bleess said he is reading up on several of priority issues in Jersey Village, including the flood control study and the comprehensive plan that was adopted in 2015. However, there is one priority area he said his experience in Caribou will serve him well: economic development.
"I have a lot of experience with economic development and trying to improve and promote quality of life in communities," he said. "There are a lot of development opportunities in the coming years, and my background there will be beneficial as well."
Under Bleess' management, Caribou saw development take the form of the opening of a new brew pub and the construction of senior housing options, among other economic ventures.
A meet and greet with the new city manager is set for March 20
Residents have the chance to meet Bleess at a meet and greet event organized by the city March 20 from 6-7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 16327 Lakeview Drive, Houston. The meet and greet takes place before the regularly scheduled March city council meeting.
Jersey Village Mayor Justin Ray said the city staff and council are excited to welcome Bleess on board.
"Austin brings an enthusiasm, fresh perspective and managerial experience that will serve our community well," Ray said. "He has demonstrated an acute awareness of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the city. City council looks forward to a productive and collaborative relationship as we continue to serve and promote our great city."