Less than a month after the end of his term on the City Council, Sherman has contracted with Terrence Steele to serve as the city’s new director of administration.

The city hired Steele through a 12-month contract with Strategic Government Resources, an administrative management consulting group. As part of his new role, Steele will be assisting Sherman’s existing management staff oversee day-to-day operations of the city.

“Terrence is someone who has been integral to shaping Sherman’s city government over the course of the last decade, as his steady hand has helped to chart our course,” City Manager Robby Hefton said in a press release announcing the retaining of Steele’s services. “His private sector experience in the areas of workforce development, economic development, and community development will make him an invaluable addition to our city staff.”

For the past 17 years, Steele has worked with Workforce Solutions Texoma, which provides employment-related services to employers and those seeking jobs in Grayson, Fannin and Cooke counties, most recently as director of business solutions and previously as director of technology systems. Steele’s council term that began with his election in November 2014 ended last month and he previously served on the council from 2002 to 2008.

“I have been so blessed to watch this city grow and blossom over the course of my time here, and I was incredibly honored to help shepherd that growth as a public servant,” Steele said in the press release. “It is my hope that this new role will allow me to bring to bear the skills I have learned over the course of my career to better our great city and ensure that we never lose track of our character as we continue to grow.”

In July, Steele announced he would not be seeking re-election to the District 2 council seat he held.

“Life is busy and just several other irons in the fire,” Steele said at the time of why he was planning to step away from public office.

The press release announcing Steele’s new role states he is serving the city as a contractor rather than a full-time employee “due to the proximity of his new employment to his last city council term.” After the council approved the contract with Strategic Government Resources earlier this week, Hefton said the contractor — as Steele had not yet been announced — could remain with the city beyond the 12-month contract.

“What we hope at the end of the contract is that the person that is going to be hired through this contract would come on full time, but we’ll know that in 12 months,” Hefton said.

The contract approved by the council states Strategic Government Resources will provide the city a consultant at a rate of $82 per hour. The press release announcing Steele’s contract states he will not be eligible for benefits while being paid the hourly wage through Strategic Government Resources.

“We’ve got some needs internally for some holes in our manager and director level positions,” Hefton said at the time of the contract’s approval by the council.

In June, Hefton chose Steve Ayers as his new assistant city manager following the departure of Don Keene. After 25 years with the Sherman Police Department, Ayers moved into city management in 2015 and had been named director of public services earlier this year. Keene, who had worked for Sherman since 2009, left the city in June to take a position as principal of Whitesboro Middle School.

Keene’s departure came about seven months after the exit of longtime engineering mainstay Clay Barnett, who left the city in November of last year to be the Grayson County engineer and the director of the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization. Following Barnett’s departure, Hefton reshuffled several staff members to fill new roles, but no new directors have been added to the city manager’s office since Keene left.

“It has more to do with the open director position that we have in administration than any future changes in our organization structure,” Hefton said of contracting with Strategic Government Resources.

Prior to his time with Workforce Solutions, Steele founded the Nehemiah Community Development Corporation, a Sherman-based nonprofit dedicated to meeting the “unmet social, academic, and spiritual needs of at-risk and disenfranchised children in the greater Texoma community.” From 1981 to 1992, Steele served as a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force, including a tour in the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm.