Steven Polasek, city manager of Keller, Texas, is interviewed on Monday by Roswell City Council members. Polasek was the fourth candidate to be interviewed by city officials and staff members during the past two weeks. The final candidate will be in town today for an interview with the councilors, beginning at 3 p.m. at City Hall. (Randal Seyler Photo)
The final candidate for the job of city manager will be in Roswell today, where he will be interviewed by the City Council in a workshop beginning at 3 p.m. at City Hall.
The workshops are open to the public.
The City Council will consider the candidates in an executive session during a special meeting on Sept. 2, Mayor Dennis Kintigh said Wednesday.
“We will go into executive session, and we’ll have the 10 councilors give their thoughts, concerns and questions about candidates,” Kintigh said. “I want it to be a free-wheeling conversation, I want to hear what they have to say and I think they will be a little more candid when they’re not being recorded.”
Kintigh said every candidate has been in town for two full days, with Kenneth Young, who is being interviewed today, arriving in Roswell on Wednesday. “Every visit has begun with an 8 a.m. meeting between me and the candidate on the first day, and everyone has ended with a 5 p.m. meeting between me and the candidate on the second day,” the mayor said.
Kintigh said all of the candidates also met with various city staff members, and he wants to also get the city employees’ input before making a decision.
Once all the discussion is done, Kintigh said he will recommend a candidate to the City Council on Sept. 9 for approval by the full council.
Young has served as the senior project manager for the office of the county administrator in Loudoun County, Virginia, since 2012.
Loudoun County has a population of 350,000 with 3,200 employees and a $1.98 billion budget, according to Young’s resume.
As a project manager, Young leads major projects involving programmatic and operational issues important to the county, as well as performing short-term and long-term strategic planning, research and analysis.
Young also has served as assistant town administrator for Capitol Heights, Md., from 2011 to 2012. He was, among other things, the acting assistant city manager-development coordination and assistant city manager for the city of Las Vegas, Nev., from 1999 to 2010.
Young has a bachelor’s degree in government and a master’s degree in public administration, both from New Mexico State University.
On Monday, the council members interviewed Steven Polasek, who is currently the city manager of Keller, Texas.
“I’m not looking for a job; I haven’t papered the country with resumes,” Polasek said. “I am here in Roswell because I want to be here, and I think there are challenges as well as great potential for growth here in Roswell.”
Polasek has been working for the city of Keller, which is a suburb of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and as such, the city is always in competition for businesses and economic development.
“Roswell is an island,” Polasek said, “and in some ways that is good, but in some ways that is bad. You don’t have to compete for businesses and economic development, and you can become complacent when you don’t have to work for it.”
Polasek began working for the city of Keller as assistant city manager in 2008, and became city manager in 2012. Prior to that, he was director of community services for the city of Southlake, Texas, from 1999 to 2005.
Polasek has a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas.
The councilors began interviewing candidates on Aug. 14, when they met with Shawna Dowell Burkhart, of Marble Falls, Texas.
Burkhart was the city manager for Converse, Texas, from 2011 to 2014, and she said she is looking for a city manager position in a town with a population between 20,000 and 50,000.
“I appreciate communities of that size for what they can provide for my family,” Burkhart said, “and I enjoy the challenges of working with the City Council’s vision and helping a community grow.”
Burkhart also worked as city manager of Jacksboro, Texas, from 2007 to 2011 and as city administrator for Castroville, Texas, from February to October in 2006.
Burkhart said she was impressed by the city employees she had met during her visit.
“This community is poised for great things,” Burkhart said. “You have some terrific resources in your city employees.”
Burkhart has a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Abilene Christian University, and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Baylor University.
The second candidate, Edward Burchins of Wilimington, N.C., was in town on Aug. 18 to be interviewed.
Burchins, a consultant, was formerly the city manager of Laurinburg, N.C., from 2009 to 2012. He opened his consulting firm, SPS, in April, 2013.
“I have been a city manager for 25 years, about 99 percent of my career,” Burchins said.
Burchins also served as city manager in Newton, N.C., from 1997 to 2006; as city manager of Florence, S.C., from 1995 to 1997; and as city manager in Washington, N.C. from 1990 to 1995.
Burchins has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Appalachian State University.
When asked about his management style, Burchins said he is an approachable person, and he likes to be visible in the community and available for employees and residents alike.
“I have a coaching management style, and I like to work with employees and bring out their best efforts,” he said.
The third candidate, interviewed on Aug. 21, was James Nichols. Nichols served as the assistant city manager of Midland, Texas, from 2011 to 2014 and was deputy city manager of Las Vegas, Nev., from 2009 to 2011.
He also worked as deputy city manager of Goodyear, Ariz., from 2005 to 2009 and as public works director for the city of Surprise, Ariz.
A native of Chicopee, Mass., Nichols believes in out-of-town recruiting for any position, and he has written a book on leadership as well as published numerous articles.
Nichols has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Connecticut.
City Editor Randal Seyler may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 311, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roswell City Councilors met with the second candidate for the city manager job, Edward Burchins of Wilimington, N.C., on Aug. 18 at City Hall. (Randal Seyler Photo)