Town manager search gears up in Lewisville

Published 12:10 am Thursday, August 25, 2022

After calling a special meeting last Wednesday related to the search for a new manager with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council, the Lewisville Town Council is moving forward with two more sessions this week with the goal of “advancing this as quickly as we can.”
Those were the words of Mayor Mike Horn to describe a shift in positive momentum “of a number of quality candidates” to replace Hank Perkins, who announced his resignation in April after serving as the town manager in Lewisville for 10 years.
Before the departure of Perkins in late May, the council appointed planner Stacy Tolbert to take on the additional duties of interim manager while retaining the services of the PRTC to assist in the town’s search for a new manager.
In the monthly Aug. 11 council meeting, after hearing in the earlier conversations with the PRTC about the supply of qualified managers being “very difficult,” Horn said that the town received a lengthy packet from Matt Reece, assistant director of management services, with some “top-shelf candidates.”
Horn then asked the council on how to proceed, adding he didn’t want “to wait until next month to have that meeting.”
That resulted in a special meeting called for last Wednesday for the council.
“This was our first opportunity to review the applications for our manager position,” Horn said. “The Piedmont Triad Regional Council has been accepting applications and screening them. We had good discussions about the applicants that we had and kind of narrowed it down to the top four that we wanted to spend a little more time with. And we’re setting up a series of short interviews and then based on that, we’ll set up some more lengthy interviews with the top candidates.”
And by last Friday, special called council meetings were called for Monday, Aug. 22, and Thursday, Aug. 25 — both for closed sessions related to the manager search.
Horn said that Reece told him and the board that he was incredibly pleased with the quality and quantity of choices for Lewisville to consider. The mayor said that the town offers a list of reasons why a prospective manager would want to come here.
“No. 1 is that we had a relatively stable history with our town manager over the years,” Horn said. “Second, Lewisville is just frankly a great community when you compare it to others around the state. You have so many positive attributes that managers really appreciate. No. 3 is we are in exceptionally good financial condition, and No. 4, you’ve got a reasonable council that is thoughtful in their deliberations and advancing them for its residents.”
Horn said that following this week’s meetings, he hoped the town would be in position to issue an offer and being the process of negotiations to get right candidate “in here relatively soon.”

Lewisville also used the services of the PRTC to handle the recruitment for a manager when Perkins was selected.
In other business from the August meeting, the item involving the Lewisville Rural Overlay (UDO L-167) was continued until the Sept. 8 council meeting after it was sent back to the Planning Board again for further review.
In May, the Planning Board held a public hearing on the draft to amend the UDO section related to the Lewisville Rural Overlay (LRO) and Planned Residential Developments (PRD). The Planning Board recommended approval to the council, which held a public hearing during the June meeting where several people spoke, but the council decided to continue the public hearing 60 days until the Aug. 11 meeting, after a motion by Horn, “because we want to do a little more work on the changes to some of the language.”
That included conversations on requiring open space and deliberations that Tolbert, in her role as town manager, said provided better recommendations for the council to consider while allowing time to make sure residents are notified of what’s coming up.
Horn said that the Planning Board had done “a great job” in looking at more details regarding the regulations.
“What was happening was that a developer who wanted to come in under a PRD, it required that developer to set aside open space,” Horn said. “The intent was that this would be useable open space for residents with the opportunity for recreation or whatever within that development. What we found out is that what developers were doing was taking the least desirable or unbuildable land on the site and making that their allocation for open space, so we really weren’t achieving what we really wanted to achieve.”
Also in the August meeting, Tolbert reported progress on the long-delayed Gateway Project, saying three parties showed up for a non-mandatory pre-bid meeting on Aug. 9. That comes after multiple years with no bids.
Tolbert said that the actual bid-opening date is Thursday (today), and that “fingers crossed, we get some contractors interested in that project.”
She added that all the right-of-way has been acquired, and “the money is there. We’re just waiting on a bid.”
The much-anticipated project is highlighted by the widening of Williams Road and implementing a complete street design from the roundabout at Concord Church Road south of the bridge over U.S. 421 to the roundabout at Shallowford Road.