Port Arthur moving forward with search for new city manager

The City of Port Arthur hopes to have a new city manager by the end of the year, but first it must hire a recruitment company to help find potential applicants.

The city council voted to fire former city manager Floyd Johnson in January, unimpressed with the city's progress during his year-and-a-half tenure.

Starting Thursday, council members will begin hearing presentations from executive search firms, which help find and put together a list of applicants qualified to fill the position.

"Each firm will have the opportunity to present its qualifications to conduct the executive search for the city manager... the city council will then review all of these and then make a determination as to which firm they would like to use," said City of Port Arthur Human Resources Director Dr. Albert Thigpen.

Five different companies are in the running for the task: Waters Executive Recruitment, Slavin Management Consultants, Strategic Government Resources, CPS Executive Search, and The Mercer Group, the firm that helped find Johnson in 2011.

The city paid The Mercer Group roughly $19,000 for its recruiting efforts, but if the city decides to use them again, Thigpen says they will only have to pay them $8,000 since Johnson did not fulfill Mercer's two year guarantee.

Thigpen says the lower cost is one factor the council will be considering when making their decision.

"The council hasn't set a specific date for a decision, but they have determined they want to do it as quickly as possible," said Thigpen.

Thigpen says the council is looking for a city manager that will be action-oriented with a focus on the city's top priorities, like improvements to city streets and infrastructure.

Councilman Kerry Thomas says the interim city manager, John Comeaux, has done a great job. Thomas says he wishes Comeaux would consider becoming the permanent city manager, but says Comeaux is ready to retire.



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