Guthrie chosen as interim city manager

Published on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 22:18 - Written by Kelly Gooch

Susan Guthrie said she wants to continue the path that the city is on as she begins her new position as interim city manager.

Ms. Guthrie, who serves as assistant city manager and communications director, was named Tyler’s interim city manager during Wednesday morning’s City Council meeting.

The decision comes nearly two weeks after City Manager Mark McDaniel announced that he is resigning and taking an assistant city manager position with the city of Dallas.

Ms. Guthrie will start her new job Aug. 19 with a salary of $156,000.

“I’m really thankful for the faith that the council’s put in me to continue what Mark start-ed and keep it on an even keel while they do their search for the next city manager,” Ms. Guthrie said.

“I’m very thankful for that opportunity. I’m so committed to the path that we’re on that I’m happy to be able to serve in that way to keep things going.”

Ms. Guthrie, 47, has been with the city of Tyler for seven years and previously worked for city of Mesa, Arizona, the University of Arizona and ASI, a subsidiary of General Electric.

She became the city’s communications director in 2007 and assistant city manager in 2013.

She helped get the employee training program City University up and running, as well as the city’s Lean Six Sigma Program, which focuses on streamlining processes and has resulted in more than $5 million saved since 2009. She also was part of the group that formed the Main Street Department and opened Liberty Hall.

She also has become the liaison for the Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau and helps with Tyler Economic Development Council projects.

Ms. Guthrie said she has four more classes for her master’s degree in public administration and will receive her degree this spring.

She has completed the Public Executive Institute at the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, serves on the Ethics Committee of the Texas City Management Association and is a member of TCMA, as well as the International City/County Management Association.

“I feel very good about the decision the council made to select Susan as the interim,” Councilman Darryl Bowdre said. “I think it’s a credit to Mark McDaniel’s administration because he built a good organization to keep our city running and gave them opportunities to grow in different areas of leadership … so we feel real confident.”

Going into the job as interim city manager, Ms. Guthrie said the Tyler 1st plan is in place; the city has a proposed budget, which she was involved in helping to put forth; the city has a strategic plan internally; and every department has a strategic business plan – a process she has been part of.

“So I’m very familiar with what we’re already doing that is really strong and has made us … the model for local government, so my objective will be to continue on that path and continue implementing the programs that we’ve all started,” she said.

Ms. Guthrie again thanked the council for having faith in her and said she is supportive of its efforts to do a national recruitment for “the best of the best as our next leader.”

She said whoever is hired as the permanent city manager will have big shoes to fill, and she is grateful to McDaniel for the leadership and mentorship he’s given to her and others.

“He’s taught us so very much and there’s no way that I will ever forget that, and I’m so thankful for that - what he’s given to the employees here and the community,” she said.

Tyler Mayor Martin Heines said the city plans to hire a firm to do a nationwide search for a city manager, and the council will research and then later vote on the search process.

He said Ms. Guthrie has agreed to not seek the permanent city manager position.

“We think that a lot of people will be interested in coming to Tyler,” Ms. Guthrie said. It’s “a wonderful place to live, and I think a model for city government nationwide, so I think we’ll be able to attract some really strong candidates and (am) looking forward to being part of that process.”


Business Editor Casey Murphy contributed to this report.