Nacogdoches city leaders on Wednesday narrowed a months-long search for a new city manager to a lone finalist.
The Nacogdoches City Council voted unanimously to move forward with contract negotiations with Mario Canizares, currently the deputy city manager for the City of Denton.
After the retirement of longtime City Manager Jim Jeffers in January, a nationwide search led by the search firm Strategic Government Solutions drew more than 50 applicants. After the coronavirus pandemic struck in March, a contracted interim city manager opted to return to his home near the Dallas area, and Chief of Police Jim Sevey was appointed as acting city manager. Calling special meetings via video conference, the city council continued to interview finalists.
Canizares' projected start date is set tentatively for Monday, Aug.10.
A graduate of SFA, he holds a masters of public administration from the University of North Texas. Before his role with the City of Denton, he served for eight years as deputy city manager for the City of Coppell.
“As we look ahead, the challenges cities face will be enormous," Canizares said. "With high service delivery demands and minimal and declining resources we must rely on governments at the local level to change our way of thinking and work collaboratively to deliver services to the community. I believe my background and skill set prepares me to lead Nacogdoches into the future.”
In addition to 24 years of city-related experience, Canizares is familiar with diverse ethnic and socio-economic communities, has negotiated economic development agreements and collaborated with counties, school districts, universities, and councils of governments.
“I am confident we have selected the best candidate for our community,” Mayor Shelley Brophy said in a statement Wednesday. “After a thorough interview process with a top-tier group of finalists, we are proud we made the best decision for Nacogdoches in selecting Mr. Canizares.”