Council narrows list down to final five

Council narrows list down to final five

Bay City Council narrowed their list for a permanent city manager to five candidates during a city council workshop Tuesday, Jan. 7.

The final five candidates are Chris Whittaker, John Godwin, Lloyd Merrell, Mo Raissi and Shawna Burkhart.

Council set the dates of Jan. 27-28 for the interviews to be conducted.

Mike Tanner, Strategic Government Resource (SGR) Executive Recruiter said the city will pay for travel costs for the five final candidates. 

“I have invited five finalists and the have all accepted the invitation. We will travel costs. We just have to agree how we will proceed from here,” Tanner said. 

Council also agreed to host a community reception for the final five candidates so that Bay City residents can greet and visit with the candidates before council reaches a decision on the position.

“I think there are people excited about this and I think a small reception the night before would be good,” said Bay City council member Julie Estlinbaum. “I’m thinking along the lines of a chamber mixer. They could speak for two minutes to the group. This will show how they present themselves in public.”

Whittaker has been the city manager of Rockdale since 2014 and serves on numerous boards and committees related to local government (Texas Municipal League, Association of Rural Communities in Texas and Texas City Management Association).  

He is a retired Army officer with 26 years of military  experience and a resident of Texas. He previously lived in Killeen Texas with the US Army at Ft Hood.  

He has a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Military Institute, a Masters from American Military University and a Certification in Public Management from Texas State University. He owns his own logistic consulting company. 

Godwin has a BA from Stephen F Austin State, an MEd from UT Tyler, and an MPA degree from North Texas. He taught public schools for five years and has been in local government for over 30 years and most recently served as city manager for the city of Paris. Godwin resigned his post with Paris in August of 2019.

Merrell serves as city manager for the city of Sealy. 

Merrell served as city manager of Madisonville, Ky., for 26 years and after retirement, he relocated to The Woodlands to be closer to family and accepted the job with the city of Sealy in February of 2018.

Raissi is a retired city manager from the city of Jacksonville and has served as Director of Community Services for the city of Mount Pleasant and has worked with the Tyler Parks and Recreation Department.

Raissi has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas at Tyler. 

Burkhart currently serves as city manager for the city of Lamesa. Burkhart has served as city manager for the city of Converse and city of Jacksboro. She served as city administrator for the city of Castroville and as an assistant to the city manager is Bowling Green, KY.

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