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Fire Chief Sander to become assistant city manager of Marble Falls

Russell Sander

Marble Falls Fire Chief Russell Sander is leaving the firehouse for a job as assistant city manager on April 4, City Manager Mike Hodge announced during a recent City Council meeting. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

Fire Chief Russell Sander will take over as Marble Falls’ assistant city manager on April 4, part of a reorganization of city management. City Manager Mike Hodge announced that and other personnel changes being made to accommodate anticipated growth during the tail end of the City Council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, March 7. 

“(The city of Marble Falls has) 148 employees — it’s been doing it already — but that number is steadily growing each year,” Hodge said. “We’re adding anywhere from 10 to a dozen employees each year throughout the organization. We’re just trying to prepare for what we know is coming.”

Current Fire Marshal Tommy Crane will serve as interim fire chief following Sander’s promotion. Marble Falls Fire Rescue Capt. Coy Guenter will be the interim assistant fire chief.

Along with changes at the fire department, current Assistant City Manager Caleb Kraenzel will move up to the newly created position of deputy city manager. 

In that role, Kraenzel will perform many of his current responsibilities, which include managing and supervising operations of the city’s development services, engineering, and public works departments.

“He’s got a pretty prominent role in the organization right now, and that’s going to stay the same,” Hodge said. “He’ll have most of the same departments reporting to him as he does now.”

Sander will be in charge of the Marble Falls Police Department and Marble Falls Fire Rescue. He will also oversee the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Public safety is one of those areas where I know we will see a number of new bodies added over there, so having someone focused on that will be a good investment in the future,” Hodge said.

Sander’s leadership capabilities were a major factor in the promotion.

“Russell has been an informal leader within the organization for a long time,” Hodge continued. “A lot of people respect him, both inside and outside of the city, so this is also recognizing the hard work he has put in as well.”

Sander has served as Marble Falls fire chief since 2016. He was recently announced as one of four nominees for the Texas Fire Chiefs Association’s Fire Chief of the Year award.

Other city promotions could be in the works.

“We have a number of others within the organization that are kind of like shining stars,” Hodge said. “We have a pretty good employee development program, and, as a part of that, we are identifying them as well.”