By Audrey Spencer
Killeen Daily Herald
LAMPASAS — Nearly 11 months after firing the last full-time city manager, council members are working on negotiating a contract with a likely candidate for the position.
Since firing Michael Stoldt in August, the council has selected David Vela, currently the deputy city manager in Abilene, as a candidate for the city manager's post.
Vela was interviewed by the council on June 11. At the June 25 meeting, members authorized city secretary and interim city manager Stacy Brack and the city attorney to draft an employment contract for Vela.
An ad for the position on the Lampasas city website requests a candidate with a bachelor's degree in business, public administration or a related field, at least 10 years of experience as a city manager or assistant city manager and experience working in a city with an electric utility.
Vela has a bachelor's degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's in public administration from Texas State University in San Marcos.
"It's absolutely a good feeling," said Mayor Pro Tem Bradley Neely on how it feels for the city to be on track to filling the position permanently. "My interpretation is he's a very good candidate. He's willing to work not only with our staff, but with the people of the community to lead Lampasas."
If the contract is approved, Vela could be hired by the end of July.
Vela said he applied for the position because of the high quality of life he sensed in the city.
"You can tell it's a very community-oriented city. That really appeals to me," said Vela, a father of two young children. "There seems to be a lot of plans and potential for growth and it seemed like a really good opportunity for my family and myself as a professional city manager."
Not having a full-time manager for almost 11 months seems to have created a drag on the progress of certain city projects, such as the joint county and city fire station, said Neely.
"We are overloading some people because we don't have that position filled," he said.
Contact Audrey Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7476.