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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

New BC city manager is Gulf Coast native

 

Last updated 1/9/2024 at 8:20pm

Bridge City has a new city manager and he's guaranteed to stay at least two years.

Last week, the Bridge City City Council voted unanimously to hire Christopher Baker, who grew up in the Mobile Bay, Alabama, area as the city manager. He has a master's degrees in business administration along with another master's in city and regional planning.

"We're very pleased with our selection. We think he's a great fit for us," Mayor David Rutledge said.

The city went nearly a year without a city manager after the previous one, Brent Walker, resigned after a working a year and six days in the position. "We kind of got left out to dry," Mayor Rutledge said.

The council wanted a two-year contract this time to guarantee the manager would stay and not use the position as a quick career stepping stone.

Previous city managers had year-to-year contracts, as did Baker. The city manager before Baker was Jerry Jones, who was in the position for 15 years and was the city's public works director for the 11 years before that.

Baker most recently served as developmental services director in Goodyear, Arizona, which has a population of 112,000 and is in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He is a member of the American Institute of Public Planners and holds a master's degree in city and regional planning from the University of Texas at Arlington.

He also holds a master's of business administration from Auburn University in Alabama. His bachelor's of science degree is from Spring Hill College, which is a Jesuit Catholic College in Mobile, Alabama.

His resume includes working as city planner for North Richland Hills in North Texas, director of planning with Thompson Engineering of Mobile, Alabama, and director of planning with Hutchison, Moore & Rauch, an engineering firm serving the Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida Gulf Coasts.

Mayor Rutledge said Baker told the council Bridge City was closer to his home and family on the Alabama coast. The new city manager described his hometown of Fairhope, Alabama, on Mobile Bay as similar to Bridge City being on Sabine Lake, which is also a bay off the Gulf of Mexico.

"He has a significant understanding of the issues facing coastal communities and we look forward to forward to working with him and getting to work on addressing the problems and getting to work on addressing the priorities of the community,” the mayor said.

The city advertised for the position through the Texas Municipal League and hired Slavin Management Consultants of Norcross, Georgia, to help with the search. After reviewing 24 applicants, four finalists were chosen with Baker getting selected.

The council will hold a reception on Tuesday, January 16, in the council chambers at 6 p.m. for the public to meet the new city manager.

 

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