2010-06-24 / Front Page

Council picks Peterson for city manager

On a 4-0-1 vote, Whitehouse City Council members gave their vote of confidence to Mike Peterson to continue as city manager. Peterson has served as interim city manager since August 2009.

Council members Tony Hill, Charles Parker, Paul Licht and Pat Powell voted for Peterson, with Mike Jeter abstaining. The city’s charter requires a simple majority vote to choose or remove a city manager.

“I think the council made an excellent choice,” said Mayor Danny Hogden, adding that the search process was worth the time and expense. “We gave the city exactly what we promised in the beginning of the process. We busted our buns … in the best interest of the city.”

Peterson was the last of three finalists to have a face-to-face inter view with council. Tuesday night began with a 6 p.m. special meeting for Peterson’s Q&A and ended at 11:35 p.m. when the council reconvened from executive session to announce a decision. Hill made the motion to offer Peterson the job contingent on a successful background check.

“Mike has all the qualities we were looking for and financially it makes sense,” said Hill. “The guy’s been loyal and he’s stepped up and shown leadership qualities. It’s time we acknowledge that and move forward. We’re treading water and we need to start swimming.”

Hill felt that candidates Erin Roseman and Dennis Sparks both had their good qualities, but ultimately Peterson was the right choice at this time.

Despite abstaining, Jeter said that he would fully support Peterson and felt he had many positive attributes that would benefit the city.

“When we originally started, I felt it was important that the city get somebody new with fresh ideas and not a lot of ties to the community,” said Jeter. “My vote was not negative or against him.”

Jeter said that had the council voted on Roseman or Sparks, he would not have supported them for the position.

Peterson has worked for Whitehouse for 22 years, including working in the sewer plant, as building inspector and code enforcement officer and as community development officer.

Peterson was supported by a large contingency of city staffers who attended the special meeting for his Q&A. Following that interview, council took a short break and then reconvened into its regular monthly meeting.

In action items, the council approved an ordinance establishing a $50 fee for a peddler’s permit and establishing fines if someone conducts door-to-door sales without getting a permit or does not carry the permit. The ordinance makes exceptions for some non-profit groups.

Council also approved:

-- an interlocal agreement with the Whitehouse Volunteer Fire Department;

-- signing the Lower Neches Valley Authority water rights settlement agreement;

-- several recommendations by Hogden for appointments to the city’s Parks and Recreation and Planning and Zoning commissions.

Hogden said the city had received several nominations for both boards and there were no bad choices.

Appointed to Parks and Rec were Maria Davenport, Hazel Bateman, Terr y Honeycutt and John Carpenter. Joining P&Z are Susan Yarbrough, Suzanne Sylvester and Zack Briscoe. There is still one vacancy to be filled on P&Z.

Council also accepted the recommendation of a company to make repairs on a water storage tank, adding $35,689 to a project that originally called for two tanks to be sand-blasted and repainted. Painting crews discovered interior damage on one tank.

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