After looking outward for a city manager in 2012 and 2016, the Hot Springs Board of Directors turned inward to fill the position Tuesday night.
The board eschewed a candidate search and selected Interim City Manager Bill Burrough as Hot Springs' lead administrator following a more than two-hour executive session. Mayor Pat McCabe said Burrough's performance as the city's interim leader since June and during an eight-month period as acting city manager from 2015 to 2016 recommended him for the job.
The executive session was held to conduct annual performance evaluations of the city manager and city attorney.
"We felt confident in the fact that Mr. Burrough had served in an interim capacity on two occasions and performed well during those two time frames," McCabe said. "He had demonstrated an ability to function in that capacity. The board felt confident he would continue to perform at the level he had been. We didn't feel it was necessary to seek outside candidates."
Burrough has worked for the city since 2002, serving as solid waste director until his 2012 promotion to deputy city manager. He advanced to the final round of the lengthy nationwide search the board undertook prior to hiring David Frasher in 2016.
"I am very appreciative of the board of directors confidence in me, and I am honored to be the city manager for the city of Hot Springs," Burrough said Wednesday. "I am very excited to lead our organization during a time when major developments are happening, with more to come. I believe the renaissance we are experiencing is only the beginning of a transformational period in time that will make Hot Springs an even better place to live, play and visit."
Burrough will receive a base salary of $165,000 effective Jan. 1 along with an annual $7,800 vehicle allowance and a $100 monthly cellphone allowance.
The lack of wholesale turnover after last month's election led the board to forgo its initial plan of waiting to fill the position until the 2019-20 term begins next month, McCabe said. All three incumbents up for election won their races, and Carroll Weatherford won a three-way race for the open District 4 director seat.
"Our goal was to get through the election and make sure any candidate for the position would know who the board members were going to be," McCabe said. "It was more for assuring any interested candidate would have an understanding of the board's composition."
Weatherford said Wednesday that he expressed support for Burrough when McCabe solicited his input prior to Tuesday night's action.
"I was not in favor of going outside for a city manager," Weatherford said. "It has not been a good experience for us. We've never had any luck with it. I think (Burrough) has more than proved himself as interim city manager and deputy city manager."
McCabe said the board may have been inclined to advertise the position and hire a search firm had Burrough not performed up to the board's standards during the last six months.
"His performance over that time was at a high level," he said. "If he had performed at not so high a level, and if there were concerns with his performance, I'm certain the board would've said 'Mr. Burrough is a candidate, but let's go out and seek other candidates.' Given his performance, we didn't feel like it was necessary to do that.
"We saw how he was developing and how he presented himself to not only us as board members but to the public at large. When we went into executive session, he was the person we thought we should go with."
Garland County Judge Rick Davis commended the board's decision, saying Burrough's knowledge of the area has been lacking in the city's previous chief executives.
"I think he's a good pick," he said. "We've seen the results when they've brought somebody in from the outside. It hasn't worked well. He knows the dynamics and culture of the area. He's local. He knows everything about the area."
The board also approved a one-time bonus of $5,000 for City Attorney Brian Albright. The lump-sum payment is in addition to a $142,996 salary for 2019. His compensation also includes a $7,800 vehicle allowance and a $100 monthly cellphone allowance, the city said.
The board's 2017 evaluation led to an $8,000 market-rate salary increase for the current year.Local on 12/06/2018
Print Headline: Board taps Burrough as city's new leader