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James Stroud submits notice of retirement


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James Stroud submits notice of retirement

By Bill Kelly

THE DALHART TEXAN

The Dalhart City Council held a special meeting on Monday November 15 to swear in Lieutenant Eloy Duran as Interim Chief of Police for the City of Dalhart and discuss the appointment of an Interim City Manager to replace current City Manager James Stroud. Stroud notified the city of his intention to retire from his position last week, effective on January 16, 2022. (This was mistakenly characterized as a resignation in the November 16 edition of the Dalhart Texan.)

Over 15 people were in the audience during the meeting. The council started with a prayer and then skipped to the second and third items on the agenda. The second item was to discuss and affirm Duran as interim chief, and there was no actual discussion of the decision by Stroud to appoint Duran. Stroud did mention that Duran was aware that his appointment was temporary, but also said that he had encouraged Duran to apply for the position permanently. Duran was then sworn in as interim chief, which was the third item on the agenda.

The council then went back to the first item on the agenda, which was to discuss the appointment of an Interim City Manager. Since it was just a discussion item on this agenda, no formal action could be taken. Stroud began by reminding the council members that he had decided to retire effective January 16, and that he wanted it to be a smooth transition for whoever was put in the city manager position and that there were about $12 million worth of contracts that needed to be transferred into someone else’s name to be representing the city.

Stroud then told the council members that his recommendation would be for Brent Walker, the current Finance Director and Assistant City Manager for the city, to be named Interim City Manager, and mentioned that he had basically been training Walker as his replacement and had originally planned for his retirement to be a year from now but that due to certain circumstances he had decided to move that up. Stroud then gave a long list of reasons why he felt Walker was qualified to move into the position. Mayor Justin Moore mentioned that he had talked to the department heads at city hall and that they all were in favor of appointing Walker as interim manager and felt he was qualified for the job.

Discussion then began concerning the appointment. Some council members had questions and/or concerns about Walker having to take care of both his current finance duties and taking over the responsibilities of city manager. There was also some discussion about the time it would take to transfer the various contracts to a new person, and Stroud mentioned that he estimated it would take about a month to get everything transferred over.

Ginger Cleavinger brought up the possibility of using outside sources for both an interim city manager and to find a permanent replacement for Stroud. Stroud informed the council members of some of the things they would need to decide before even hiring a search firm, such as coming up with specific qualifications for the job that would need to be met (education, licensing, experience in a similar job being a few of those) and that they would have to then sign a contract with the firm. Cleavinger voiced a concern about wanting the council to do its due diligence in finding the best person for the job. She also suggested that the council go into executive session for further discussion.

There was more discussion about the extent of Stroud’s job and all that would be involved in taking over all of those responsibilities. The council went into executive session for further discussions that were not open to the public. No action was actually taken at the meeting since appointing an Interim City Manager was only on the agenda as a discussion item and not an action item. It was mentioned more than once that a decision might be made next Tuesday (November 23) at the next regularly scheduled city council meeting. The council adjourned after coming back into regular session following the executive session.

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