Killeen: City Council names new city manager

James “Kent” Cagle was one of the four finalists chosen from a field of 29 applicants to succeed City manager Ronald Olson, who retired effective Oct. 1. (City of Leander photo)
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) The Killeen City Council has named a new city manager and will formally consider an employment contract at its meeting next Tuesday.

James “Kent” Cagle was one of the four finalists chosen from a field of 29 applicants to succeed City manager Ronald Olson, who retired effective Oct. 1.

If approved, he will start work on Dec. 3, the city said in a press release Friday.

“City council is excited to welcome Mr. Cagle to Killeen,” Mayor Jose Segarra said.

“We are impressed by his experience in city management and finance, and we believe he will continue the city’s positive path forward.”

Cagle, who has more than 18 years of city management experience, served as city manager of Leander from November 2011 until May, when the Leander City Council voted 6-1 to terminate him “for cause.”

Leander Mayor Troy Hill said the council voted to fire Cagle because of a lack of economic development, the Austin American Statesman reported.

Cagle sued after he was fired, alleging that his termination came after he reported that a city official had violated the law, the Statesman reported.

The city settled the suit in late October for $349,000, the newspaper reported.

Cagle also served as city manager of Duncanville from 2001 to 2011 after four years as assistant city manager.

He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration, both from Texas Tech University.

He succeeds City Manager Ronald Olson, who retired effective Oct. 1.
Olson announced his retirement in June in a letter to the city’s mayor and city council.

Assistant City Manager David Ellison is serving as interim city manager.

The Killeen City Council approved a contract with Olson in February 2017 after identifying him as the lone finalist for the job.

He came to Killeen from Corpus Christi where he also served as city manager to fill the position, which had been open since former City Manager Glenn Morrison, who was hired in 2012 after five city council members were recalled over a buyout paid to his predecessor, announced in March 2016 that he was retiring after 30 years in municipal service.

Olson resigned as Corpus Christi’s city manager in May 2016 after the city of about 300,000 spent about two weeks under a boil order because of low levels of disinfectant in the water system.

Similar advisories were issued twice in 2015.

He has served as city manager in four other cities and as a county administrator, as well.

He holds two degrees from Brigham Young University.

The other finalists

Torry Edwards served more than 11 years as city manager for Terrell, Texas between April of 2002 and January of 2019. He previously worked in the City Manager’s Office for the City of Dallas from 1996 to 2002 as a management assistant and strategic manager. Edwards earned a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Government from the University of New Mexico. He is a Certified Public Manager and has attended professional development programs at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and Yale University School of Management.

Aretha Ferrell-Benavides has 24 years of experience in government and the private sector. She currently serves as city manager for Petersburg, Virginia. She was city manager of Glenn Heights, Texas from 2014 to 2017. Additional experience includes positions with the Government of the District of Columbia, the City of Chicago and Maryland State Government. Ferrell- Benavides holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Howard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Southern University. She has also attended the Executive Leadership Institute of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators and the Intergovernmental Executive Development Program at Harold Washington College.

Stephen Williams has been in city government for more than 23 years. He has been the assistant city administrator and chief financial officer for the City of Conroe since January 2014. His tenure with Conroe also includes service as director of finance from 2005 to 2011 and director of finance and administration from 2011 to 2014. Prior experience includes posts as director of budget and research with the Town of Flower Mound and budget analyst with the City of Dallas. Williams holds a Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of North Texas. He is an ICMA Credentialed Manager and a Certified Government Finance Officer.

(Source: City of Killeen)