GONZALES — At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9, council business included an executive session to deliberate and take action on the renewal of the City Manager Contract. Council deliberated in closed session and upon returning to open session, council took action to accept City Manager Sean Lally's resignation and additionally, included in the motion of accepting Lally's resignation, council appointed Superintendent of Public Works Tim Patek as Interim City Manager. The vote was unanimous with all councilmen and the mayor present.
According to Gonzales Mayor Connie Kacir, Lally held an employment contract as City Manager with the City of Gonzales for a one-year term expiring this week on January 16.
"During the executive session, Sean Lally submitted his letter of resignation to council, resigning his position as City Manager of the City of Gonzales, effectively immediately." Kacir said.
"On behalf of the Office of the Mayor and all city councilmen of the City of Gonzales it is with the utmost sincerity we wish Sean Lally the very best and success in pursuing other opportunities in the future," Kacir said.
Council's decision to appoint Patek as Interim City Manager was a result of "the normal succession in authority to the office of City Manager," Kacir said.
The new position, Superintendent of Public Works, was approved by council in June, with Patek being the successful candidate named in August. As Superintendent of Public Works, Tim Patek oversees the day to day operations of staffing, budgets and capital projects of several city departments, including: Electric, Streets, Water/Wastewater, Community Development, Building Maintenance, Airport, Parks, J.B. Wells, Swimming Pool, Recreation, Golf, Museum and the Library.
Patek has 26 years of municipal experience and holds a B.S. in Recreational Administration graduating from Southwest Texas State University in 1991. His career with municipalities began in 1992 with the City of El Campo and also includes the City of Portland, City of Seguin and City of Gonzales. Patek started work with the City of Gonzales in November of 2012, hired as the Director of Parks and Recreation and was promoted to the Superintendent of Public Works in August of 2017.
"The council felt Mr. Patek exhibited the skill set and technical knowledge required to carry out a successful management plan for the city during the interim period," Kacir said.
Kacir said Patek's current position of Superintendent of Public Works at the time of his appointment to Interim City Manager allowed for a seamless transition period by being educated on the current day-to-day operations of the aforementioned departments.
"Mr. Patek has been very closely involved in working with our Water Department and TCEQ [Texas Commission on Environmental Quality] in the necessary steps required to resolve issues related to our public water supply. He addressed council at the Jan. 9 city council meeting in a staff report for the Water Department being knowledgeable on the issues and answered all questions in a very informative fashion presented by council," Kacir said. "City council is extremely confident in placing the city in the hands of Mr. Patek during the interim period and his ability to carry out all duties required under the position."
According to Kacir, a council meeting will be set at a future date taking formal action in adopting a plan determining their criteria to fill the position of city manager.
"The council's priority concern was to appoint the interim position under strong leadership capable of making sound business decisions with the immediate hands on knowledge of city operations and someone who could carry out the duties without disrupting or compromising the health and safety of any other city departments," Kacir said. "By doing so, this allows council the time needed to analyze all options in the selection process for a permanent city manager."
Kacir said it is her intention to proceed in a prudent businesslike manner in seeking the recruitment and selection of the next city manager.
"Our city requires a decision of integrity seeking all avenues ensuring the challenges of municipal government are met in hiring the right professional for permanent position," Kacir said. "I will update the citizenry with information moving forward on the council's actions regarding the hiring and search process."