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KILGORE NAMES LONE FINALIST FOR CITY MANAGER

Joshua Selleck, 37, assistant city manager at Cedar Park has been named the lone finalist for the Kilgore City Manager's position.

He accepted that designation Friday night, according to the Kilgore News Herald.

“They do not vote in executive session. There is no deal on the table yet... That’s what will be happening next week.”Headhunter Ron Holifield of Strategic Government Resources said the five finalists have been notified of the decision.

 

The council and Holifield have spent about two months on the search since the December departure of city manager Scott Sellers.

Selleck has served as assistant manager at Cedar Park, population 62,000, since January, 2012 and previously worked as director of finance there from November, 2009 to 2012. He earlier served in a similar capacity for the city of Kerrville, working as budget manager from January, 2007 to July, 2007 and director of finance until November, 2009.

From an initial pool of 52 candidates from across the country, the council's short-list included, in alphabetical order: Sean Pate of Gladewater, Philip Rodriguez of Prosper, Joshua Selleck of Cedar Park, Jeffrey Trinker of Richmondand William Whitson of Lynn Haven, Florida.

CITY OFFICIALS SAY SOUTHERN COVENANT PULLS APPLICATION, NOT COMING TO GLADEWATER

It appears a recent public hearing held by Southern Covenant Treatment Center (SCTC ), which became heated and adversarial in its four hour meeting has paid off for local residents and school and city officials with SCTC pulling its application for a state license to operate a treatment center.
Gladewater City Manager Sean Pate told the Gladewater Mirror Wednesday afternoon that he has been told SCTC will not be moving into the old Texan Nursing Center building, since they have apparently pulled its application with the state.
Treatment center board members were bombarded with questions during the four-hour public hearing, with GISD officials, Gladewater city council members, local business owners and nearby residents questioning SCTC's ability to run a facility for teens with severe emotional problems. Questions about security plans went unanswered and even state licensing officials were not not able to calm local concerns.
Dr. J.P. Richardson pointed out at the meeting that 8.5 percent was the state average of special education students per district. At present Gladewater Middle School and High School are at 15 percent. He said that if SCTC came in with full residency 22 percent of students would fall into special education needs status. Two and half times the state average. He also said that it would cost the district $500,000 that was not in this school year's 

DAYLON MACK MAKES DECISION - GIG'EM AGGIES!

Daylon Mack, No. 6 in the ESPN 300 and the No. 3-ranked defensive tackle prospect, committed to Texas A&M over TCU and Texas on Wednesday, live on ESPNU in a ceremony at Gladewater High in Texas. The 2015 UnderArmour All-America Game MVP was a longtime commit to the Aggies before decommitting Dec. 19. He followed with official visits to College Station and Austin to check out rival Texas before deciding on the Aggies following in-home visits late last week. 
Commitment impact: Accordignto ESPN College Football, this is a huge win for Texas A&M and head coach Kevin Sumlin. Not only is Mack a potential difference-maker at a premium position of need, but the East Texas product is a head-to-head win over Texas and TCU. With the Longhorns fighting to regain lost momentum in the state, it’s imperative for the Aggies to continue winning the battles for players like this. Mack is expected to come in and challenge for a starting defensive tackle spot from day one in College Station.

GLADEWATER CITY MANAGER AMONG FINALISTS FOR KILGORE JOB

(Special to the Mirror from the Kilgore News Herald)

 

The Kilgore City Council trimmed their pool of city manager candidates this week, and they're set to interview the finalists next Saturday. And among those finalists is Gladewater City Manager Sean Pate.

After one closed-door vetting session Feb. 6 failed to produce a final roster, a majority of the council members gathered for a follow-up meeting at City Hall Thursday afternoon. Following a two-and-a-half hour debate – abandoning a prior consensus to limit focus to in-state candidates – the group tasked executive headhunter Ron Holifield with lining up interviews with four Texas men and another from Florida.

Set for Saturday, Feb. 14, the interviews fall a little less than two months into the hunt for a new chief at Kilgore City Hall.

The five-member pool of finalists includes, in alphabetical order: Sean C. Pate of Gladewater, Philip A. Rodriguez of Prosper, Joshua C. Selleck of Cedar Park, Jeffrey D. Trinker of Richmond and William R. Whitson of Lynn Haven, Florida.

As of Thursday's meeting, the top-tier candidates have a mixture of experience:

Pate was hired in 2010 as Gladewater City Manager and since 2002 he has worked as a city administrator in four other Texas communities including Balcones Heights, Poteet, Clarendon and Dalworthington Gardens. He currently serves as regional president of the Texas City Management Association.  

Rodriguez has worked as project and management consultant to the city manager of Southlake since July 2014 and previously worked as the city manager and executive director of economic development for the City of Fate as well as city manager experience in Van Alstyne.

Selleck has been serving as assistant city manager for Cedar Park since January 2012. He previously worked as director of finance there from November 2009 to 2012 and in a similar capacity for Kerrville from January 2007 to July 2007.

Trinker has most recently worked as executive director of support service in Rosenberg (since June 2013) after working as assistant economic development director there from 2010 to 2013 and as a management assistant for Sugar Land from 2008 to 2010.

Whitson's most recent work experience was as executive director of the Panama City Community Redevelopment Agency in Florida from 2011-2014 with prior experience in other communities including city manager posts in East Ridge, Tennessee and Cairo, Georgia.

Kilgore Mayor Ronnie Spradlin said “We kind of argued over one candidate, whether to extend an invitation to him,” he explained. “Then you've got to see if you extend an offer to them and see if they want to be a finalist. Last time when we hired Scott (Sellers) we had someone that pulled out at the last minute and didn't want to be interviewed.”

After three years in the post, Sellers resigned as Kilgore City Manager in late-November to take a similar job in Kyle. Once again hiring Holifield's Strategic Government Resources firm to spearhead the search, council members appointed Plano Assistant City Manager Mark Israelson's to lead city hall on an interim basis during the short-term headhunting.

Working from the council's preferences for the search, Holifield's nationwide postings for applications drew 52 candidates from 17 states.

Heading into Thursday's meeting, the council members in attendance generally agreed they would be considering applicants from anywhere but with a preference for those with relevant experience in Texas.

“We want somebody that can blend into East Texas,” council member Neil Barr said. “They didn't want somebody from New York or California. It'd be good if we got somebody from an oilfield town or a town similar to Kilgore.

“We're going to look at some more resumes … (but) resumes don't tell you a whole lot.”

Spradlin said he was against automatically putting out-of-state candidates to the side.

“It doesn't hurt to look,” he said. Otherwise, “There might be some shining star that we shouldn't pass up.”

The conclusion from the Feb. 6 session was to focus on Texans, Mayor Pro Tem Harvey McClendon confirmed, and he entered Thursday's meeting in favor of in-state candidates.

However, “I'm not necessarily set in stone precluding (out-of-state),” he explained. At the least, Sellers' prior post to Kilgore was in Colorado: “Obviously we got Scott, and he did a good job.”

But in-state experience is high on the list of criteria, McClendon allowed.

“Not mandatory, but high on the list,” he said. “There's candidates from other states, but they're going to have to be top of the line to break into the top group. There's a learning curve – Texas is different. Somebody that's been here in Texas is going to fit in better.

Still, “the last time we preferred to hire someone from in-state but Scott proved to be our guy.”

Council member Lori Weatherford agreed out-of-state candidates weren't precluded from consideration Thursday, but experience in Texas is a significant boon.

“When you work in 50 different states you realize how different the law is from state-to-state,” she explained. “The point of that discussion was we know it puts somebody behind the 8-ball to come in and not know Texas law.

“What really is amazing is how much everyone cares to get the absolute best. It's all about moving forward.”

Kilgore's next city manager, Spradlin said, is within that group and a couple of candidates stand out in his mind.

However, “It's all kind of up in the air until the personal interviews,” he said. “Going into the search for Scott, before the interview he was number four or five and in the interview he came out number one by an easy margin.

“Who you're looking at on paper is not always the same person you find when you do the interviewing. Then you have to find someone that suits the personality of the council and the community and someone whose talent and experience fits the needs of this community at this time.”

McClendon said he and his colleagues on the council dais are looking forward to next weekend.

“It's always real beneficial to meet the candidates in person. You get a much better perspective in person,” he said. “Even though we have some videos and resumes and all, getting to interact with them gives you a lot better feel for the person themselves and the fit. We're anxious.

That said, he's pleased with the job Israelson is performing for the city on a temporary basis.

“We really like Mark. He's done a great job for us, and he's well-like and respected around here already.

 

He's already been a good interim for us.”

College accepting applications beginning Jan. 28 for board terms expiring in May

 Kilgore College will host three regular elections and one special election, all on May 9, for expiring board terms.

Applications to run for the special election (formerly held by Charlie Hale—currently held by J. Karol Pruett) will be accepted from Jan. 28 through March 9 (excluding weekends).

This seat (Voting Unit #3, Place 6, Central Zone) will serve two years which is the remainder of the initial six-year term.

Applications to run for the three regular elections will be accepted from Jan. 28 through Feb. 27 (excluding weekends).

The regular election will include three expiring board terms:

James Walker, Voting Unit #2, Place 2, North Zone (Gladewater)

William Roberson, Voting Unit #1, Place 1, South Zone (West Rusk)

Carlos “Scooter” Griffin, Voting Unit #3, Place 3, Central Zone (Kilgore) 

Applications for a place on the ballot can be picked up in the Assistant to the President’s Office in the McLaurin Administration Building on the Kilgore campus.

Office hours are 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Fridays.

To receive forms by mail, call 903-983-8101. 

The voting units:

  • Voting Unit No. 1 consists of Overton and Leverett's Chapel independent school districts and the West Rusk County Consolidated Independent School District.
  • Voting Unit No. 2 consists of Gladewater, White Oak and Sabine independent school districts.
  • Voting Unit No. 3 consists of Kilgore Independent School District. 

PUBLIC HEAR ON TREATMENT CENTER GETS HEATED

A 4-hour public hearing for Southern Covenant Treatment Center was held Friday, Feb. 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 300 Money Street location in Gladewater. And the reception the owners received from local residents, city council members, GISD officials and business owners was less than welcoming as they commented on the licensing of the proposed residential treatment facility for teenage boys dealing with serious behavioral issues. 
The main points and concerns expressed at the public hearing was that Gladewater wasn't against the facility and the need to treat young people with behavioral problems, the city and school simply are already overburdened and the owners were not able to answer questions to the satisfaction of those in attendance.
The facility is scheduled to house up to 32 male residents ages 13-17 who are classified as Level 3 and 4 patients by Child Protective Services. This classification lists behaviors such as frequent or unpredictable physical aggression, major self-injurious actions or difficulties that present a significant risk of harm to self or others. The mission statement’ of Southern Covenant is … ‘our mission is to promote wellness in a safe family oriented home environment while extending a helping hand to empower troubled youth. Southern Covenant, a non-profit organization, provides an atmosphere where our youth are involved in structured activities to encourage healthy life skills.

Read more about what happened at the public hear in next week's Gladewater Mirror.

CITY OFFERS UP NEW ANNEXATION PLAN

FOCUS NOW ON COMMERCIAL AREA. NOT RESIDENTIAL

By Jim Bardwell
The City of Gladewater has decided to rethink its original annexation proposal involving about 1,200 acres in the Friendship Community and offer up a smaller area – about 300 acres, which focuses more on commercial growth and cuts out most of the 200 residents who have been protesting the proposed annexation. 
The city’s Reinvestment Committee plans to make a recommendation on the newly condensed map – which only involves land directly connected to US 271 and branches out south to a portion of 135 - at its Nov. 20 public hearing.
“During the past two months, the Reinvestment Committee has had the opportunity, as has the city council, to study the defined area being proposed for annexation. There were two focuses of study. One was on the demand and cost of current city services and the future impact to these services. The other was on the current growth pattern and assisting the future growth potential of the defined area,” city manager Sean Pate stated in a press release Friday morning. 
The residents in the Friendship Community launched a comprehensive protest against the city’s effort to pull them into the city limits. They have sent out fliers, planted protests signs throughout the area, hired legal counsel to fight annexation in the courts if need be, gathered signatures on petitions and were planning to go door-to-door in and effort to rally support from Gladewater citizens and force the city council to vote no on the annexation.
Randy Koss, chairman of the anti-annexation committee, was not immediately available for comment.
Pate said also considered “was the recent creation of the Gregg County ESD 2 (GCESD2) as voted on by the western Gregg County voters on November the 4th. This new development would allow the city to work with GCESD2 to develop a service plan between the two entities for the defined area. Therefore, the committee would like for the city council to consider a redefined area for possible annexation.”
Pate said the redefined area would focus on “properties that best represent current and future growth potential in commercial, industrial and retail business. The committee feels that the city of Gladewater has a vested interest in both assisting and servicing the current and future growth within this redefined area.”
Pate added that the city has no plans to pursue “any future annexations outside of this redefined area.”
Pate said he spoke with representatives from the Friendship Community on Thursday about the revised annexation area and received a positive response.
A second and final public hearing will be held Dec. 2 at City Hall at 6 p.m. The meeting had originally been set for Dec. 18.