Interim Longview Assistant City Manager Rolin McPhee could be named to replace retiring City Manager Keith Bonds as the city looks to reorganize several departments and add new ones.
All the recommendations are set to go before the City Council for approval during Thursday’s meeting.
Bonds announced in November that he would retire at the end of January, ending a 22-year tenure working for the city. Earlier in 2021, the council named McPhee, a former public works director, as interim assistant city manager.
Bonds and McPhee on Friday stressed the importance of having a clear succession plan.
“I think that succession planning is the number one job of any person that is leading an organization,” McPhee said.
Media and Tourism Manager Shawn Hara said the council is responsible for hiring four positions: city manager, city attorney, city secretary and municipal judge. The city manager is responsible for director-level positions as well as police chief and fire chief.
However, the city manager’s recommendations for director-level positions require council approval.
If McPhee is approved as city manager, a domino effect will occur, impacting the roles of other city employees, Hara said.
Director of Administration MaryAnn Hagenbucher will be recommended as the new assistant city manager.
Bonds said when compared with 16 other Texas cities around the same size and budget of Longview, 15 of those had at least one assistant city manager. Some of them had an assistant city managers and deputy city managers.
Hagenbucher’s successor is recommended as Human Resources Manager Bonnie Hubbard.
Bonds said the HR position would be open and a replacement hired.
And acting Public Works Director Dwayne Archer is recommended to take over the position permanently.
Bonds also said two new city departments could be created, pending council approval.
The need for a Grant Services Department arose from the abundance of grants that are coming to the city from state and federal agencies, he said.
“We don’t really have a central location for those grants to come through,” Bonds said.
That department, led by Director of Community Services Laura Hill, would ensure grants are being received appropriately and that the city remains compliant with the grants’ requirements.
Assistant Director of Community Services Dietrich Johnson would move to director of community services, replacing Hill.
Bonds said the assistant director of community service position would be eliminated.
Bonds also wants to create the Community Destinations Department led by Hara. Several entities would fall under the umbrella of this department, including the Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center, the Longview Public Library, Visit Longview, Main Street and more.
The City Council is set to meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 300 W. Cotton St.