At a special called meeting last Monday, the Commerce City Council voted to appoint Ned Muse as interim City Manager while a search is conducted for a full-time replacement.
The decision comes after the council formally accepted the resignation of current City Manager Darrek Ferrell the week prior.
Ferrell’s last day is Jan. 10. According to a press release from the city, Muse is scheduled to begin work on Jan. 2 to ensure a smoother transition.
This is not Muse’s first rodeo with the city, having been tabbed as the interim City Manager in 2016 following the retirement of Marc Clayton in February of that year. He held the position until Ferrell was hired in August 2016. He is contracted through Texas First Group, which provides interim services to several municipalities.
Commerce Mayor Wyman Williams said in a statement that choosing Muse and TFG was the best option.
“We were fortunate to have many excellent options for an interim city manager,” Williams said. “But we have experience with Ned Muse and the Texas First Group, and they have experience with Commerce. They can attest to our history and our progress as we search for a full-time replacement of our current city manager.”
Ferrell, a Texas A&M graduate, said at the time of his hiring that he was excited for the prospects of developing the city.
“Commerce has a lot of potential to be even greater and provide better services to the community,” Ferrell said in a 2016 interview with the Commerce Journal. “I’m happy that I am now in a position to do my best to help.”
During his tenure, Commerce has experienced growth. In 2018, the city broke the $1 million mark in sales tax revenue for the first time, and even more is expected to be brought in this year, as December returns were 16 percent higher this year than in 2018. A new “step-and-grade” pay system was implemented for this fiscal year, which saw employees get an average raise of 10 percent over the previous fiscal year.
However, Ferrell had also become unpopular with some in the community over his handling of certain issues, such as the resignations of former police chiefs Kerry Crews and Jason Rector, and the consolidation of the Police and Fire chief into a single position. There were some that celebrated the announcement of Ferrell’s resignation on social media.
Ferrell said in a statement to the Commerce Journal that he hopes the improvements in the city continue.
“Working as a team, the City Council and the City Staff have improved water quality, better equipped our first responders, completed several outstanding projects, and facilitated development across the community at record levels. I hope the City of Commerce continues to make advancements like these and that one day it becomes abundantly clear that much of that progress is the result of preparation and planning done in the last three years.”