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Orange council eyes city manager hire


Last updated 7/30/2019 at Noon

Dave Rogers

For The Record

The City of Orange could name a new city manager during a special called meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at Council Chambers at the Orange Public Library.

“Deliberation with City Attorney … regarding personnel matters … presentation by SGR regarding City Manager search process” and “action as necessary” regarding that deliberation are the only two agenda items.

Shawn Oubre resigned in October after 13 years in the job in order to become city manager for the Waco suburb of Woodway.

Kelvin Knauf, the city’s planning director, has served as Orange’s acting city manager since.

Knauf, who initially said he had no interest in the job full-time, may be in consideration in the search being run by Strategic Government Resources, an executive headhunter agency based in Keller, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth.

“All I’ll say is I didn’t turn in an application by the deadline,” Knauf said recently.

Mike Kunst and Robbie Hood, city managers at Vidor and Pinehurst, respectively, acknowledged they have applied for the job and have been in the audience at several recent Orange council meetings.

The city hired SGR in November to conduct the search for a fee not to exceed $26,500, plus expenses.

Hiring outside consultants to run the job search meant candidates applied directly to SGR and not to the city, so the city was not required by the Texas Public Information Act to make a list of applicants available to the public.

As such, the search for the city’s top employee has been conducted in secret from the city’s taxpayers. Only those privy to the council’s executive (closed) sessions – council members and a few city staffers -- know the names being considered.

According to SGR’s website, semifinalists have been named for the job.

On July 9, council members met with SGR representatives for an hour and a half behind closed doors and received an oral report on candidates for the job.

Thick binders were presented to the council members to go over during the meeting, but the SGR representatives picked up the binders on their way out of the meeting.

No action was taken in the brief open meeting that followed.

A brochure for the job, available on the SGR website, says the ideal candidate is someone “who’s passionate about the community,” “must be highly visible” and “needs to have familiarity working disasters.”

The salary range is “dependent on qualifications and experience,” the brochure says.

Oubre’s annual compensation at the time he exited was $140,839, according to information provided from the city after a June Public Information Act request.

Orangefield ISD board meets Thursday

The Board of Trustees for the Orangefield school district will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 to consider three items.

The first is “possible action” on Policy DEC (Local), which is titled Compensation & Benefits; Leaves & Absences.

Second is possible action on radio equipment for better staff communication and the possible purchase of new cafeteria tables.

The meeting also may include a closed (executive) session to discuss hiring personnel, followed by coming back to open session to consider and take action to hire.

Orange County schedules second budget session

Orange County Commissioners’ Court has scheduled its second 2020 budget workshop for 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 at the county’s administration building.

The agenda calls for commissioners to hear budget requests and concerns from Justice of the Peace Precinct 3, JP Precinct 2, Parks, Management Information Systems, and Texas A&M Agri-Life.

The county held its first budget workshop Tuesday, July 30. The focus was on three of the county’s larger departments, Sheriff’s Office, Road and Bridge, and Maintenance.


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