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Granite Shoals hires head hunter in search for new city manager

Granite Shoals Mayor Aaron Garcia

Granite Shoals Mayor Aaron Garcia presents three options for executive recruitment firms to the council on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The council chose Strategic Government Resources from among the three to find a new permanent city manager. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Granite Shoals City Council voted to hire head hunting firm Strategic Government Resources to recruit a permanent city manager during its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 25.

The decision came after weeks of debate over the hiring process, which, at first, was between the council doing the hiring or using a search firm. Members eventually settled on hiring an executive recruitment firm on Oct. 14.

The contract with SGR will cost the city roughly $27,000, including money spent on advertising the position. A new city manager should be in line within 15 weeks, according to the contract.

SGR was chosen from among three firms presented to the council by Mayor Aaron Garcia. Also considered were Government Professional Solutions and Baker Tilly Public Sector Executive Recruitment

Garcia initially recommended using Government Professional Solutions.

“Part of the reason I was suggesting GPS is because they were a smaller company and the cheapest,” he told the council. “My idea was to try and save the city some money and go with a qualified firm that could do just as good a job as the larger corporations could.”

The GPS contract would have cost a flat rate of $21,500 and been fulfilled in about 14 weeks. The company is relatively new and operated by two partners, both former city managers and attorneys.

Both Garcia and Councilor Samantha Ortis supported the use of GPS during the Oct. 14 meeting of the council, but when put to a vote, the motion failed. Councilors Steve Hougen and Phil Ort believed the firm was too small and a larger firm would better serve the city. 

Ort moved to contract SGR at the Oct. 14 meeting, but that vote failed as well. The council then voted to have Garcia reaffirm contract details with all three companies so the whole council could review them and make a more informed decision.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, both Hougen and Ort reasserted their belief that SGR, a much larger firm, would be the better choice. 

Hougen told the council that, in his correspondence with GPS, it provided only two examples of recruitment efforts, which paled in comparison to the long list of successful recruitments achieved by SGR and Baker Tilly.

Ortis countered Hougen’s statement, saying the company’s proposal included numerous examples of professional accomplishments and successful recruitments outside of Texas. One of the GPS founders, Bret Bauer, confirmed this in an interview with

“I admire companies that are just starting out. It’s a tough thing to do to start a business,” Ort told the council. “But an established company that has been in business for over 30 years, has nationwide outreach, and has the staff to be able to perform the job, I think is the best choice for the citizens.”

Garcia acknowledged Ort’s point and restated that his initial intention was to save the city money, but understood the councilor’s point of view.

Ort moved to hire SGR and was seconded by Ortis. Before the vote was taken, Councilor Eddie McCoy chimed in over Zoom and spoke about his experience with SGR in the past.

“I am familiar with SGR. I’ve dealt with them on a couple of job applications that I have put in for, and they are very professional and their customer service is very good,” he said.

Councilor Ron Munos also pointed out that SGR was recently used by Lago Vista to recruit former Granite Shoals Police Chief Gary Boshears in August.

The council voted unanimously to hire the firm.

Peggy Smith has served as interim city manager since June when Jeff Looney was fired. She is an active applicant for the job of city manager and will be among those considered by SGR in the recruitment process.