by Camaron Abundes
MIDLAND- The Tall City may have a new city manager on the payroll as soon as Mid-July, according to Mayor Wes Perry. The Mercer Group, a consulting firm contracted by the city, is working to find a new crop of qualified candidates, following the tumultuous departure of former City Manager Rick Menchaca last year.
Menchaca left the position a month after he was publicly criticized by the Municipal Police Officers Association last April. Former Midland Police Chief John Urby stepped down, April 17th. The controversy would soon require the City Council to step in. The Council later offered Menchaca, who is now working as City Manager in San Marcos, a severance package worth $481,000. Since Menchaca's departure Assistant City Manager Tommy Hudson took over as interim. Price Robinson took over as Interim Police Chief.
"You don't want to jump the gun, and make the wrong decision, because we hope this person will be here a long time, until they retire here," Mayor Perry says the focus is on finding the right person not the time it takes to do so.
Mayor Perry hopes to offer a fresh start to whoever takes over the role.
"I think what we've done in the past year is definitely get things settled, and working right and going down the right path and that's something that will just get better when we have a city manager," Perry said. "We wanted to make sure everything in place so they don't have to take something that was in turmoil."
Perry says the Mercer Group conducted interviews with Midland residents, City of Midland staff members and the Midland City Council to figure out what characteristics they're going for.
"They did some interviews with citizens staff and us to get a perspective of what Midland's all about," he said.