Tuesday's special meeting of the Big Spring City Council proved to be special indeed. Following 30- to 45-minute interviews with the remaining three city manager candidates and a lengthy deliberation, the Big Spring City Council voted unanimously late Tuesday evening to grant Todd Darden the position of city manager.
“We had 34 candidates when we started,” said newly elected mayor Larry McLellan. During the June 11 meeting that number was reduced to three.”
The other two finalists for the position were Crowley City Manager Alan Grindstaff and James Quinn, formerly the city manager of Richland Hills.
The long wait over, Darden was warmly congratulated by his family and the council members. Among the hugs and handshakes Darden also was bestowed a little ribbing by councilman Marcus Fernandez who told the new city manager, “If you thought I called you a lot before, I'll be calling you all the time now.”
“I really believe we made the best choice,” said McLellan, citing Darden's 30-year career in various positions with the city.
Despite the challenge of the interview process, Darden maintained his calm and sense of humor, telling Fernandez that among the questions he was asked, the councilman's were some of the most difficult to answer.
“My stomach was in knots,” said Darden in regards to the anticipation of the vote and to the wait following his interview. “Actually, it's been in knots for two days,” he chuckled.
But Darden didn't have to endure the stress and anxiety alone. Accompanied by his family, he waited patiently outside the chambers as day turned to evening. Eventually, the door to the council chambers opened and all were called in to the open session that would determine the next leg of his life's journey.
Upon the result of the final vote Darden laughed and said, “Well, I was scared, but now I'm really scared.” The former interim city manager thanked the council and city employees and expressed his enthusiasm to continue to serve the citizens of Big Spring.