Taking charge: New leader on the Island

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — The search for a city manager that started in May has ended.

The South Padre Island city council selected Susan Guthrie to take over the daily business of the city.

“We are very excited to have her on board,” said Barry Patel, SPI mayor. “She comes from a solid background.”

Guthrie’s official acceptance of employment was approved earlier this week during the city council meeting.

She will begin work on Oct. 17.

As city manager, Guthrie will earn $160,000 along with a benefits package and car allowance.

According to a news release, Guthrie brings extensive city management and communications experience to the Island’s top administrative job.

“South Padre Island is only two square miles but it also presents a place to do exemplary things for someone like her,” Patel said. “I think she is going to enjoy her job, and enjoy doing all the wonderful things that we want to do.”

Most recently, Guthrie worked as assistant city manager for the city of Tyler for nearly two years.

She started as the city of Tyler’s communications director in 2007 and became interim city manager for a time in 2013 while the city searched to fill the position.

Patel said she is coming from a good-sized city with a lot of infrastructure, so the Island should be easily manageable for her.

“I always say that you are only good as your next job,” Patel said.

Patel said there was a tremendous interest in the position with an initial pool of applicants that started with more than 50.

“We had to close the applicant process and we narrowed it down to about eight and then to three and then to one,” Patel said.

Guthrie earned the credentialed city manager designation from the International City Manager Association, and has also received her accreditation in public relations from the Public Relations Society of America.

She completed a master’s degree in public administration and completed the Public Executive Institute at The University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.

And she completed Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government certificate for executive leadership in state and local government in 2011.

“I think we have a very good opportunity to work with her,” Patel said. “I think she is very capable of getting the job done.”