West Lake Hills has begun the search for a new city administrator following the termination of Robert Wood’s contract. Wood filled the position for 12 years, and Mayor Linda Anthony expressed her appreciation for his work prior to the council’s decision Aug. 28.

City information indicates council was obligated to make a public vote to either extend or discontinue Wood’s contract by Aug. 30. If no vote was taken then his contract would automatically extend for another year.

“It wasn’t something out of the blue,” Anthony said, adding the council had previously expressed some frustration and felt it was ultimately time for the city to go in a new direction.

Council ratified a contract with Strategic Government Resources on Sept. 11 to aid in the recruitment process for a new city administrator. Per the contract, service costs will not exceed $26,500—$18,500 will be allocated to professional services, and $8,000 will go to unspecified expenses.

Anthony said SGR is one of the top firms in the country and noted the search for a new administrator was going to be very thorough.

“This is not something we want to rush into,” she said.

Council Members Brian Plunkett and Darin Walker will serve on a subcommittee to aid the recruitment process, which Anthony said could take anywhere between two and five months. A similar process was used to hire Police Chief Scott Gerdes March 2015, she said.

“Honestly, personality is key. We’re a small city with a very shy and retiring population,” Anthony said. “We have residents who are accustomed to a high level of customer service.”

Anthony said it is important to create a user-friendly local government in West Lake Hills, as that is a component the city has been falling short on lately.

West Lake Hills also contracted with SGR to help recruit a new city secretary following the resignation of Lacie Hale on May 9. Council hired Stephanie Mills during its Oct. 7 regular meeting to replace Hale.

Information from the city states Mills will take over the position from the interim secretary in November.