At first blush, it appeared Monday, Sept. 19, the Las Cruces City Council had, in a closed meeting, settled on a new city manager to replace Robert Garza, who retired in May.
Udell Vigil, the city’s communications director, sent out a press release Monday stating the council selected Stuart Ed of El Paso as the new city manager.
The release included a quote from Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima that stated: “The City Council and I are very pleased and confident with the selection of Stuart Ed as the new city manager.”
The release said the council’s decision resulted from a follow-up interview with him and one other out-of-town candidate via video conference. The other out-of-town candidate was Daniel Biles, deputy county manager-infrastructure, Jefferson County, Alabama. A third candidate was David Dollahon, who currently serves as assistant Las Cruces city manager/chief administrative officer.
The city release reported the council is scheduled to consider a formal resolution selecting Ed as city manager at its Monday, Oct. 3, regular meeting.
Mayor Pro-Tem Greg Smith, though, sent out an email after the release was distributed to clarify it was, “Not entirely accurate. In fact it runs counter to the instructions we gave at our meeting.”
Smith reiterated no vote on the city manager can be taken in a closed meeting. The vote will take place Monday, during the regular city council meeting that is open to the public.
He also wrote: “Both Stuart Ed and Dan Biles are very strong candidates, but based on the comments made in the closed meeting, it is fair to assume that Ed will get the vote on (Oct. 3).”
Still, Smith said, there should be caution.
“Should the vote not go as assumed, or should Ed be offered the job and decline, we have been open about the fact that Biles has been under consideration also,” he wrote.
As for Dollahon, Smith said he did submit an application, (but) he has not been a candidate since May.
Ed most recently served as president/CEO of Goodwill Industries of El Paso, Inc. Prior to that, he worked with the City of El Paso Mass Transit Department for four years and the community development department for nearly five years.
Other professional experience includes service in the United States Army where he achieved the rank of captain.
Ed received his Master of Public Administration degree from New Mexico State University in 2002 and his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Arizona in 1984.
The city manager is the sole employee of the city council, overseeing the day-to-day management of city government, which includes a $374.5 million annual budget, and 1,366 full-time employees.