Missouri City City Council has narrowed its search for a new city manager to two finalists. In a 4-3 vote June 24, the council decided it will interview these top candidates.
Those in favor of moving forward with the process are Mayor Yolanda Ford, Mayor Pro Tem Chris Preston, and Council Members Vashaundra Edwards and Cheryl Sterling.
However, Council Member Jeffrey Boney said the timing is not right to hire a new city manager.
“I believe that given the fact that we are in midst of budget discussions, also we are in the midst of a major pandemic in COVID-19 that’s ramping back up, and the fact that we have elections that are right around the corner, I don’t believe that now is the time to even remotely be thinking about bringing in someone brand new to be the leader of our city,” Boney said.
Ford disagreed with Boney, saying the city needs a new city manager.
“For the very reasons that Council Member Boney did bring up is why we do need to get a CEO in place,” Ford said.
Bill Atkinson, previously an assistant city manager, is currently the interim city manager. The names of the top two finalists have not been released. Additionally, no time frame was mentioned as to when council would interview the candidates.
Council Members Boney, Floyd Emery and Anthony Maroulis have repeatedly expressed concerns over the city manager search process.
On Wednesday, Boney, Emery and Maroulis each reiterated that they want executive search firm Baker Tilly to conduct a broader recruitment of candidates.
“I don’t believe that the two [candidates] that we are looking at—they’re adequate—but I don’t think they are the talent levels that we need to run our city,” Emery said. “I think it’s a misstep if we don’t take advantage of doing a really extensive search through the search firm.”
Edwards said the city was able to attract qualified candidates and that the city saved money by conducting parts of the search in-house.
“These are two over-qualified city managers that we are beginning the interview process with,” Edwards said. “I would like to also mention that we actually saved the city money—since you spoke about the budget—by interviewing these candidates and reviewing the potential candidates who were not qualified.”
Edwards, Ford, Preston and Sterling voted to terminate former City Manager Anthony Snipes’ employment with the city in February.
Edwards, Ford and Preston’s seats on council will be up for election in November.
Discussion of moving ahead with the city manager search came on the final day of a three-day series of budget presentations. From June 22-24, each department within the city of Missouri City presented its base budget and any supplemental requests for fiscal year 2020-21.