LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The city of Killeen has five finalists in the running to replace assistant City Manager Dennis Baldwin, who will retire in January after 35 years with the city.

The five  finalists, announced by the city Tuesday, are:

David Ellison, a project manager for the San Antonio Airport System. Ellison has been in city government for more than 20 years and has served as an assistant city manager in seven cities including San Antonio from 2011 to 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from North Texas State University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Texas.

Glenn Irby, who most recently served as city administrator for Apopka, Florida, from 2015 to 2018, and city manager of Umatilla, Florida, from 2006 to 2015. Irby has more than 30 years of local government experience. Additional municipal experience includes time as a police officer, department manager and city accountant. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Public Administration from Troy State University.

David Olson, the current executive director of public works for Killeen, a post he has held since 2016. Since July, Olson has performed the duties of acting assistant city manager, the city said. Olson is a licensed professional engineer and has worked at a number of engineering companies as a project manager and engineering manager. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Nicole Torralva has been with the City of Temple since 2006 and has served as director of public works since 2010. She worked for the City of Killeen as a project engineer from 2003 to 2006. She also has engineering firm experience. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Mark Van Vleck, the current assistant city manager of Corpus Christi. Van Vleck has been with Corpus Christi for a decade with previous positions including deputy director for water operations, director of development services and executive director of utilities. Prior to municipal service, he had a 20-year career as a naval officer. He earned a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a Master of Civil Engineering from the University of Florida.

One of the finalists named by the cit, withdrew his name late Tuesday. Mark Rohr, who had been in League City and cities in other states, took another position, city officials said.

“I am looking for a highly experienced municipal manager to assist in advancing all City operations,” City Manager Ron Olson said in a release. “The ideal candidate will have strong leadership skills and the ability to promote team work and customer service.”

Interviews are scheduled for Dec. 14. Ron Olson said he will make his selection when the best qualified candidate is identified.

One outside candidate with experience working with Ron Olson is Van Vleck, whose time with Corpus Christi overlapped with Ron Olson’s tenure as city manager from 2011 to 2016.

Van Vleck oversaw the city’s water department and served as assistant manager during a period of boil-water orders that eventually led to Ron Olson’s departure from the city, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Corpus Christi’s water system experienced three boil-water orders between July 2015 and May 2016 that initially left the city on the hook for more than $500,000 in corrective requirements and an additional $6,000 in penalties.

Under Ron Olson’s watch, the city issued boil orders in July and September 2015 and in May.

When Ron Olson departed in May 2016, he repeatedly referenced his own responsibility in not addressing the orders, but also mentioned that his determination in the position began to waver after residents who lugged water bottles into their homes for days criticized the city. He also cited the long-term slowing of his City Hall overhauls, according to the Caller-Times.

“I went there to make a difference in how the city runs, and I think I made some really good strong progress for the first 3½ years, and the last year and a half we stalled out,” Ron Olson told the newspaper. “I didn’t see any change coming. As I looked at it, I projected that the next number of years was going to be slow, hard, not much progress; so that and combined with the water situation, I was really looking for somewhere where I could go and make a difference.”

Baldwin’s retirement

Baldwin, 59, a former Killeen police officer, police chief and interim city manager, will retire after 35 years with the city.

On Oct. 4, Strategic Government Resources posted a job listing for Baldwin’s position, with a starting salary at $140,000 and a $3,000 car allowance.

Baldwin will be the second of two assistant city managers to depart city government over the course of 12 months. Deputy City Manager Ann Farris retired after five years with the city in January. Olson said there are no plans to fill her position.

Baldwin came on as a police officer in 1983 and was promoted to Killeen police chief in 2004. He was hired in the assistant manager role in February 2017 after a tumultuous period following City Manager Glenn Morrison’s retirement in April 2016.

Farris had been initially appointed as interim manager before being removed from the position by council vote in October 2016 and was replaced with Baldwin.

Baldwin had applied for the village administrator role in Salado in March 2017 but withdrew from the race at Olson’s request, according to the FME News Service. He told the Herald in early October he was not currently applying for a new position, but he left the possibility open.

“That could change if the right opportunity comes along,” he said.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

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