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Denton City Council narrows down choices for new city manager

Denton City Council narrows down choices for new city manager

November 15
09:19 2016

When former city manager for the city of Denton George Campbell left his contract without renewal in June, the seat was left open for a new CEO of the city.

Howard Martin, the former assistant city manager and now interim manager, has worked since June to keep the city running. But the city council have now narrowed down their replacement choices to three people, and hosted a meet-and-greet Monday evening.

Kristoff Bauer, the current city manager for the City of Fayetteville, North Carolina, Jelynne LeBlanc-Burley, former deputy city manager of San Antonio and former vice president of utility in San Antonio, and Todd Hileman, the current village manager of Glenview, Illinois, are all potential candidates to be the next CEO of the city.

Carla Romine-Haggmark, director of human resources for the City of Denton, said she helped with the interviews but the ultimate choice for the new city manager lays in the hands of the city council.

“They [city council] narrowed it down with the help of the recruiter and consultant,” Romine-Haggmark said. “We talked to council, then council selected the candidates, and got in touch with them.”

When it came down to renewing Campbell’s 10-year-long position with the City of Denton, the city council decided 4-3 not to.

Mayor Chris Watts said he wants to hire someone who will problem solve through collaboration, and involve the entire community.

“I think we are looking for someone who can appreciate the diversity of the city and lead a city as diverse as ours, a fast-growing and full-service city that has good leadership skills and problem-solving,” Watts said. “We need someone who can appreciate the unique community. We have two universities, there are many opportunities and challenges in that part.”

The list for possible candidates for this position was narrowed down from 72 applicants, to 15, now to the final four, and at the last minute, three.

After a long and much-anticipated search, Chuck Rohre with Waters Consulting said the process is lengthy and complicated to ensure the city has a good replacement.

“We provided information to city council, developed the recruitment profiles, and gathered resumes,” Rohre said. “We discussed the candidates, and on Nov. 14 will be interviews and tours, then on Nov. 15, a final decision will be made.”

With over 50,000 college students, Denton is bustling with younger generations who want their voices to be heard.

LeBlanc-Burley, who is currently the president of JLB Group, a consulting group she established to provide services to local governments, said UNT and TWU play very big parts in the city of Denton.

“San Antonio and Denton are two very different communities, I couldn’t compare the two,” LeBlanc-Burley said. “San Antonio has given me a great career, Denton is well managed financially, it is very progressive and the partnership with the two universities here is great. I can’t imagine the energy the college students have.”

Aside from the two major universities in town, Hileman said he wants to connect with all levels of education in the city.

“For me, its building bridges with the two universities, it doesn’t matter to me if it is a university or high school campus, it is important for relationships with administration,” Hileman said. “Police, fire, they all overlap. They are an extension of each other. I treat them all as one big team, there is no other way to do it.”

During his 10 years as city manager, Campbell has propelled growth in the city in approving the new convention center, and expanding the Denton airport west of the city, to name a few.

Bauer, who brings more than 20 years of municipal management experience to the table, said he will listen and learn from this community if he is chosen for this job.

“Hopefully I bring creativity and openness to Denton, I’m not sure there’s anything specific I would bring here from North Carolina but every community is different,” Bauer said. “As a manager it is important to listen to the city and what they need. I will bring experience and tools, but I will learn about what this community needs and apply those tools.”

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Julia Falcon

Julia Falcon

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