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Fort Worth ‘casting wider net’ in city manager search

The City Council launched a new search for a city manager in executive session Tuesday, a week after rejecting the first four finalists.

Mayor Betsy Price said council members have not changed their expectations for a city manager: They are seeking someone who is tech-savvy, innovative and fiscally responsible, with industry and city government experience.

“We had a good discussion about moving forward and casting a wider net,” Price said.

The council met with representatives from WhitneySmith Co., a human resources consulting and executive search firm.

The firm will re-post the position until mid- to late April, then bring candidates to the council in May.

The council had hoped to have a replacement by March.

The search started after City Manager Tom Higgins, who has worked for the city for nearly 30 years, announced his retirement in October.

Higgins, who makes $233,400, agreed to stay on until a replacement is found.

In other business, the council approved an economic development agreement with Wal-Mart to build a 182,000-square-foot Supercenter at the southeast corner of Golden Triangle and Park Vista boulevards in far north Fort Worth.

The $12 million in tax breaks come with terms that include building the store and pad site by June 2016, investing at least $13 million in the project by that time, having at least 50 employees and making a “good-faith effort” to spend at least 25 percent of certain construction costs with minority- and women-owned businesses.

The council also approved an economic development agreement with Fort Worth-based Trademark Property Co., which is spending $185 million on the Waterside project, planned for Lockheed Martin Recreation Association property.

The $18.5 million in tax breaks will be tied to the amount of project investment. The company must invest $90 million in the first phase of 325,000 square feet of residential or commercial space and 140,000 square feet of commercial space.

In phase two, it must invest an additional $35 million and have a minimum of 150,000 square feet of commercial or residential space. Phase three calls for an additional $60 million investment and at least 200,000 square feet.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.