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From Watermelon Thump to Cowboy Capital

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Photo by Sandy Miles-Wolfe
Bandera Mayor Don Clark, left, congratulates Lamar Schulz after administering the oath of office to the new city administrator on Friday, April 24.

By a unanimous vote, Bandera City Council approved hiring Lamar Schulz as new city administrator. No stranger to municipal government, Schulz will trade his allegiance from the Watermelon Thump to the Cowboy Capital of the World. He was sworn in the morning of Friday, April 25.
During an abbreviated special meeting on Thursday, April 24, Mayor Don Clark recommended Schulz for the position. Councilman Suzanne Schauman asked if another candidate was going to be discussed.
Mayor Clark noted, "If you support (my recommendation), that's fine. If not, we can come back again." Apparently, the specter of yet another special meeting proved daunting for even the most stalwart councilmen. Without further discussion, Councilman Glenn Clark made a motion "to go with the mayor's choice" - and that's what happened.
Interestingly, because he has never been officially reassigned as serving as only director of public works at a city council meeting, it would appear that Mike Cardenas also remains onboard as the city administrator. However, his office is now at the city yard on Cypress Street.
Clark noted that Schulz was amenable to the city's offered salary of $53,000 per year for the fulltime position.
Schulz's background in municipal government included being auditor for Guadalupe County from 1984 to 1994. He then served as finance director for the City of Luling from 1994-1996 prior to being appointed acting city manager. He served in that capacity from September 1995 though January 1996, at which time he was appointed city manager, as well as chairman of the hospital governing board. During his sojourn as acting city manager and city manager, Schulz continued as finance director.
His most current position was with The Scooter Store in New Branufels. From June 2000 through March 2013, he was employed as mobility consultant, resource specialist, outbound specialist and, from 2004 through 2013, as Specialist III, working in the financial department.
In an interview on Friday, April 25, Schulz said he had learned about Bandera's search for a new city administrator on the Texas Municipal League website.
"I was looking to get back in this line of work and Bandera is in close proximity to my children and grandchildren," he explained, adding, "Family ties are strong."
Although Schulz lives in San Antonio, he's very familiar with he Cowboy Capital of the World. "I've been through Bandera many times and eaten at quite a few restaurants." Ever the diplomat, he quipped, "And, I've never had a bad meal at any of them."
Although he hasn't as yet dipped a metaphorical toe in the Medina River, Schulz identified the city's primary challenge as getting its "money situation" in order. "We need to know where we're at because everything falls back to knowing what we can do and what we can't do."
He continued, "We have to get a firm grip on the finances, go back to the basics and get the staff back up and running." With municipal court clerk Rebecca Hanna's recent resignation, no one could disagree with Schulz's initial assessment of the situation.
He also intends to be totally accessible. "My door is always open and transparency is vital to me," he said, adding, "And, if I say something, I mean it."
Schultz will attend his first meeting of Bandera City Council at 6 pm, Thursday, May 1. Agenda items of note include:
• Development of a Comprehensive Capital Improvements Plan and begin the grant application process
• Report from director of public works
• Executive session to discuss duties, assignments and salary for director of public works, as well as reviewing applications for city secretary and municipal court clerk.
However, there is no action slated to be taken on Cardenas' duties, assignments and salary as public works director.