After a pool of 18 applicants was narrowed down to six, Liberty City Council interviewed the three finalists for city manager Wednesday night and unanimously voted to offer the position to Tom Warner.
As of Aug. 29, Warner is the city’s Public Works director, a position he has held for six years. When he arrives for work Thursday morning, Aug. 30, it will be to assume his new role as city manager.
As city manager, Warner will receive an annual salary of $125,000 plus standard benefits, a car allowance and cell phone allowance.
“I think Tom will do a good job,” said Mayor Carl Pickett after the meeting was adjourned. “He is loyal and dedicated. He has a good educational background as an engineer and knows the city of Liberty.”
Two of Warner’s first tasks as city manager will be to hire an assistant city manager, a new position that was added to next year’s budget, and to find a replacement for himself as Public Works director.
“It will be his prerogative to make hires,” Pickett said. “As city manager, he is the man making that decision in the trenches.”
Warner is a resident of Hardin. His wife, Charlotte Key Warner, is the former Pct. 2 commissioner and a former area engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation.
After the departure of former city manager Gary Broz in June, the city secured the services of Texas First, a Leakey, Texas-based firm that assigns interim city managers to small cities transitioning from one city manager to the next. Larry Shaw has served as Liberty’s interim city manager for the last three months.
How long Shaw stays now that Warner is the new city manager will depend on Warner’s comfort level with his new responsibilities, the mayor suggested, adding that it “depends on Tom.”
The mayor expressed his appreciation for the time and effort put forward by the other two candidates — David Douglas and Stephen Ashley. Douglas currently operates Liberty County’s permits department and is a former city manager for the City of Dayton. Ashley is a former city manager for Spring Valley Village, a small city of roughly 4,000 residents in Harris County.
“We appreciate the other two candidates who were here tonight. I know they spent significant preparation time,” he said.
By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org