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Denison starts search for new city manager

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Former city manager Jud Rex left Denison in December to assume the role of assistant city manage for the city of Garland.

The search for a new Denison city manager has formally begun. Following an executive session Tuesday night, the City Council authorized the mayor to enter into a contract with a firm to conduct the search for the manager.

The search comes after City Manager Jud Rex announced late last year that he would be leaving his post after five years with plans to serve as the assistant city manager of Garland.

"I think the assumption here is that it will be a minimum of a six-month process for the full executive search to take place after the contract is signed," said Aaron Werner, managing director of communications and engagement for Denison.

Rex stepped into the city's highest role in 2015 following the departure of then City Manager Robert Hanna. Following Rex's departure, Bobby Atteberry was named as the city's interim city manager.

Interim City Manager Bobby Atteberry

The city will be contracting with Strategic Government Resources, a high-end  firm that has helped scout candidates for many cities in the past, including Denison.

Werner is a recent higher through SGR, as is Police Chief Mike Gudgel. The firm was contracted by the city to assist in finding an assistant city manager previously, but this was put on hold when Rex announced his departure.

Werner said that search will likely be restarted once the city manager role is filled. This will allow the incoming city manager to assist in finding a good candidate that would match and compliment his or her skillset.

The search for a new city manager is not expected to be a quick process, and city officials expect it could be six months at the earliest before the city has a slate of candidates.

Meanwhile, Atteberry has signed a 12-month contract to serve as the interim city manager. If a candidate is chosen before the contract expires, Atteberry will transition into an assistant manager role and assist in the transition, Werner said. At the end of the contract, Atteberry is expected to return to his previous role as a consultant for Main Street improvements.

"It is going to be a long process, and from what I understand we are not in a hurry," Werner said. "If we get a slate of candidates that the mayor, council and Bobby are not pleased with, they will send them back and keep searching. They are going to take their time and find the right person for Denison and not hurry."