He’s OK, they’re OK
But no council members are calling for Bradshaw’s head, either.
Bradshaw, who started his job in Port Aransas in June, applied for the position of Corpus Christi city manager in mid- December. But, within several days, he withdrew from contention after learning that his name, along with the names of all other applicants, was about to be made public.
In interviews with the South Jetty, no Port Aransas City Council members said Bradshaw’s action had permanently damaged his relationship with the council.
“What he did is not unusual in the corporate world, so I don’t really have a problem with it,” said Councilman Charles Bujan.
“I’m a little disappointed it happened, and it came out in the paper, and all that stuff,” Bujan said. “I wish that hadn’t happened. But I don’t have a problem with what he did.”
In its online edition Dec. 28, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported Bradshaw’s name along with the names of 52 other applicants for the city manager’s position. The City of Corpus Christi released applicants’ resumes after receiving a request under the Public Information Act, according to the Caller-Times.
Bradshaw said the city’s search firm led him to believe, at the time he applied, that it wouldn’t be publicly revealed that he was an applicant unless he became a finalist. Bradshaw withdrew his application immediately after the search firm notified him on Dec. 21 that applicants’ names were being released.
After the Caller-Times story ran, Bradshaw sent an apologetic e-mail to Port Aransas council members. The e-mail said he didn’t think his name would become public unless he was a finalist.
He also wrote, “We have several major issues on the horizon for the City of Port Aransas and I would never abandon my commitment to the City until I meet my obligations to see these projects come to fruition.”
Bradshaw told the South Jetty that he was happy being city manager of Port Aransas and that he didn’t think he had a realistic shot at the Corpus Christi job.
But he said he applied for it anyway to see if he’d be competitive for a city manager position in such a large city. Bradshaw has worked for years in municipal administration, and he’s a native of Corpus Christi.
Mayor Keith McMullin met with Bradshaw after news of Bradshaw’s application broke.
“He apologized that it all happened, in the first place,” McMullin said. “But he also said that he … didn’t feel as though he had the qualifications or experience for a city that size, and went about this really, as he put it, as a fishing expedition, to see if he really was, in fact, competitive for a position like that.
“I take him at his word,” McMullin continued. “And I told him that I hope he is here for the long haul. We have a lot of work to do for the city of Port Aransas, and … you know, truly we spent a lot of time, energy and money finding the right person, finding Robert, to get him here, and I’d like to see him be here and make the contributions I know he can make.”
Bradshaw replaced Michael Kovacs, who left in December 2009 to take an assistant city manager’s position in Park City, Utah. On and off, Port Aransas city officials spent a few months sifting through more than 100 applications for the city manager’s job before settling on Bradshaw as their top pick.
Council member Glenda Balentine said she didn’t have a problem with the fact that Bradshaw applied for the Corpus Christi city manager’s job.
“I believe him when he says he is testing waters, and I feel everyone needs to look out for their best interests,” Balentine said.
Councilman Keith Donley said he didn’t begrudge Bradshaw for trying to advance his career.
“I think it was the right thing for him to do, to withdraw his name,” Donley said. “He didn’t have to do that. He already has this (current) job and could have continued on as city manager of Port Aransas on through his contract.”
Councilman John Price said he was “disappointed” to hear that Bradshaw had applied for the job of Corpus Christi city manager.
“I think Robert is a really dynamic guy and adds a whole lot to our operation at the city and would like to have envisioned him there until he was ready to retire, but possibly, that might not be the case,” Price said.
“Perhaps it just looked like an incredible opportunity to test the waters and see where he stands against other city managers,” Price said. “I think the bottom line is, we need to work really hard to make sure he feels at home and get him settled in Port Aransas.”
Asked whether he had a problem with Bradshaw seeking the Corpus Christi job, Councilman Rick Pratt said, “It certainly didn’t do his image any good. It created a problem for him.”
Asked if Bradshaw’s relationship with the council has been poisoned, Pratt said, “Not poisoned, but it certainly affected it.”
Asked how it has been affected, Pratt said, “We won’t know yet, will we? His statement that he just sort of applied to check the water is understandable. … But you can’t help but wonder if (the Corpus Christi City Council) said yes, would he have gone? He probably would have, and we would be looking for another city manager. To that extent, it affected his relationship with the council.”