The city of Bangs officially has a new city administrator/public works director after the city council appointed Scott Perry to the dual position.
Following the resignation of then city administrator Leo Smith in January of 2016, Bangs had been without a city administrator since and in the interim Bangs Mayor Eric Bishop assumed all duties and authority of the city administrator until Monday when the city council approved granting those duties and authority to Perry.
“I was familiar with the area, but I was not familiar with the infrastructure and not sure about the onion I had bitten into at the time,” Perry said. “I like a good challenge so it did not scare me off, but the things we contend with mostly is what I diplomatically refer to as differed maintenance issues, which is a polite way of saying either the staff in my capacity or a subordinate’s capacity in public works didn’t have the aptitude or the guidance to keep up with all of the changes, especially in the last 10 years. This is a totally difference business.”
Perry had served as public works director since 2016, filling a position that sat vacant for eight months. He said his greatest challenge so far has been updating city water lines, which in some cases have been in operation since 1928. He must also expand infrastructure to accommodate incoming developers with plans for homes and apartment buildings.
“Now I’m in the position to give them solutions to problems instead of letting them know just where our responsibilities stop,” Perry said. “We have several developers coming here. One is looking to put apartments in and a couple looking at putting homes in. There is no infrastructure there right now. It’s my job to figure out how to get it there whether the funding is allocated or whatever the situation is.”
Another difficult task is hiring of two police officers. In April, the Bangs had only one officer – Chief Troy Grusendorf. Perry said the difficulty in filling the positions comes from the requirement that each officer have two years of experience and communicate well with citizens.
“We have two interviews out of the way and three to go,” he said. “I don’t know what the outcome is going to be with that, but best case scenario somebody is going to be coming on in 45 to 60 days right now. We’re going to be without any officers for hopefully no longer than a couple of months.”
Although this is his first job as city administrator, Perry said he has worked in and around municipal governments all his life. Growing up in Glen Rose, his father Roy Perry worked as a city superintendent for Glen Rose. There he tagged along on calls and saw the town develop once it developed a comprehensive master plan. Bangs is now two years into its master plan, which has Perry excited for the future.
“For a long time, the city was just trying to keep its head above water and keep operations moving. That was because there was not a solid, comprehensive plan. How do I know what I’m supposed to do today when I don’t know where I am going to be five years from now? In this business, five years is not a very long time. It
Once he graduated from Glen Rose High School, he immediately entered the workforce, putting in 15 years with Texas Utility Service until taking his first municipal position, outside of working with local law enforcement departments, with the city of Hico as public works director.
“If you never swam into a creek, then you’re not going to just jump into it,” Perry said. “This is a creek I’ve swam in my whole life. I just never was tasked with this one particular job title. I have dealt with city administrators and councilors for years. That helped make the transition relatively painless, but in this capacity, I am tasked with questions and issues daily that I did not deal with so I am still inside that learning curb.”