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Commission discusses who will lead city after Murphy

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As J.J. Murphy’s position as Hobbs city manager comes to an end on Aug. 23, Mayor Sam Cobb and the city commission are discussing who to appoint as acting city manager.

Cobb and commissioners met in an executive session meeting Monday to discuss how to go about choosing an interim city manager.

“We talked about two or three different options that we have regarding the interim city manager,” Cobb said. “We had a good meeting with the commission and with department heads. We gained a lot of valuable input and insight so I hope we may move forward.”

Cobb said he is currently working on a resolution with a recommendation of who to appoint as acting city manager. He plans to add the resolution to Monday’s City Commission meeting agenda for commissioners to discuss and vote on.

“We didn’t make any decisions,” Cobb said. “I’m taking the lead on putting together a proposal in the form of a resolution. The commissioners will have a discussion about it and we may amend my resolution before the meeting is over Monday. I think I have a way to make it work for an interim (city manager). I think it’s going to be in several different phases as we move forward. We have to start the hiring process as well.” During a City Commission meeting on Aug. 7, commissioners approved in a 5-2 vote an employment transition and settlement agreement with Murphy where he will transition as a special consultant to the mayor and city commission until June 30, 2018.

In the new agreement, Murphy will be paid a lump sum of $93,000 at the time of his transition, which is about $20,000 less than his current contractual benefits. He will also be paid $183,976 in wages through June 2018 and will be entitled to any accrued PTO and military leave as of Aug. 23. His city-provided health insurance, dental and vision insurance will continue until the end of June 2018. His legal fee will also be paid up to $10,000.

Cobb said in early August the interim city manager may be hired from existing staff but he is still in the process of deciding who would be best to fill the position.

“I’m not sure what my final resolution proposal is going to be,” Cobb said. “I’m going to have some more thoughts about that and when the resolution comes out that’s going to be what I am going to propose. The final decision (on Monday) may be completely different from what I propose. That’s the way to get the process started. By the end of Monday night we’ll have a good plan for not only our city employees but our citizens (that they) will be comfortable with.”

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