Matt White picked as Jal city manager
JAL — On a unanimous vote of 5-0 at the Jal City Council meeting Thursday night, former Eunice mayor Matt White was chosen the next Jal city manager.
Having lost his bid in March for a fourth term as mayor, White applied for the vacant seat in Jal left by the resignation late last year of Bob Gallagher and currently filled by an interim city manager.
“They’ve got Hubert Quintana as a temporary,” White said. “He’s doing a fantastic job. He has agreed to stay until Aug. 25. We’re going to overlap about 10 days so I can get my feet wet. I’m excited about it.”
Mayor Stephen Aldridge said the city’s search committee interviewed two candidates for the job, unanimously picking White over Michael Ciesielski.
“We had an interviewing committee that pared down the list of applicants we had to three,” Aldridge said. “One of them pulled out because he had accepted a job in Las Vegas, N.M. The two were interviewed and the committee unanimously elected Matt and put his name forward. With that full recommendation, I put his name before the council and they said OK.”
The mayor added the city has yet to meet with White to draw up a contract before the regular city council meeting of Aug. 13, so no salary has been determined. The city council has budgeted $100,000 annually for the top post.
“I don’t foresee any big issues there,” Aldridge said.
White, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel after 22 years in the military and retired Southwest Airlines pilot after 15 years, built a home in Eunice about 25 years ago after leaving the military service. He married a third-generation Eunice woman with whom he celebrated a 50th anniversary this month. They have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Eunice.
White said he plans to remain in his Eunice home.
“I already told them I would not move, but I’ll be available any time they need me,” he said. “It’s only about a 20-minute drive.”
City Councilman Mike Orr expressed optimism over White’s selection.
“We’re really looking forward to working with him,” Orr said. “We feel he was the most qualified. He’s just a tremendous person. (The committee) did a spectacular job in recommending Matt.”