By CHRISTIN COYNE
WILLOW PARK - The Willow Park city council announced early Wednesday morning the name of the lone city administrator candidate finalist.
At the end of their regular meeting, council members authorized Mayor Richard Neverdousky to enter into negotiations to hire Matt Shaffstall as the city’s top employee.
Shaffstall, a native of San Antonio, has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Texas and has spent the last four years working as an economic development specialist for Richland Hills in the economic development and planning department.
“One of the things I’m really excited about with Willow Park is it has a quality of life with great development opportunities, with potential for more, both residential and commercial development,” Shaffstall said.
Willow Park began the process of replacing current city administrator Candy Scott in May and contracted Strategic Government Resources to help with the search.
“The city is kind of going forward and growing, and, at this point, we saw the need to put in a professional administrator,” Neverdousky said at the time.
The requirements for the position were changed in the past to accomodate the city administrator prior to Scott, the mayor said, adding they hoped to find someone who is a college graduate, has some experience with a larger city and is familiar with the steps they need to take to grow.
The council also approved in May the creation of a budget and financial analyst position, which Scott was expected at the time to fill.
“It’s been kicked around a little bit for a while, [and] some things arose that we saw perhaps this was a good time, as good a time as any to do it,” Neverdousky said in May. “We’ve looked at some of our sister cities, some of the progress they’re making, looked at us needing to make similar progress.”
Shaffstall said he received a bachelor’s from UNT in 2001 in communications studies and political science.
Shaffstall, who was involved in speech and debate in high school, said he taught speech and debate but became tired of talking about government and decided he wanted to get involved.
He obtained his MPA at UNT in 2005 and joined the City of Hillsboro, Shaffstall said, doing special projects for the city for mainstreet and economic development.
During a brief stint in the City of Dallas’ city manager’s office, Shaffstall said his wife, Amanda, who is a speech pathologist, received a job opportunity that moved them from Dallas to Hawaii for a year.
Shaffstall said he has spent his time in Richland Hills handling issues such as business retention and expansion, incentive negotiation, small business assistance and tourism attraction.
City infrastructure and planning for growth have also been a part of his responsibilities, Shaffstall said.
Shaffstall, who is married and has a 1-year-old son, said he enjoys living outside the big city.
One of the first things he wants to do is work with the city council to develop a formal set of goals for both the short term and long term, according to Shaffstall.
Another goal he discussed with the council is bringing the best practices to the city while working on a budget and understanding the realistic constraints the city has, Shaffstall said.
Though he expects the city’s elected officials to play a strong role in defining what changes occur, Shaffstall said he does believe the city has some issues that need to be addressed, such as repairing and improving the water system, as well as planning for future water needs.