Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson will not be moving to Texas for a job in Pearland, near Houston.
In December, Pearland officials said Watson was one of four finalists who could replace the city’s former manager, Bill Eisen, who retired at the end of December after 12 years.
But Watson—who was in Pearland for interviews, tours, and staff briefings this past weekend—told Oak Ridge City Council members at the beginning of a Monday night work session that he is staying in the Secret City.
He said the Pearland City Council could select a new city manager during a Monday night meeting, and members could pick Clay Pearson of Novi, Mich. Watson said the competition was tough.
“No matter what they do, we’re staying here,” said Watson, who started working in Oak Ridge in August 2010 and received a round of applause after his announcement Monday. “It all kind of works out for the best.”
Watson said he appreciated the community outpouring of support for him and his family.
“I want to thank everybody for their thoughts and comments and the nice things that were said about me by a lot of people,” he said.
With a population of more than 100,000, Pearland has been one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas. Watson has a son Travis who lives in Houston, and he’s managed cities in Texas and Arizona, as well as in Montana.
In Pearland, Watson emerged as one of four finalists from an earlier field of 48 city manager candidates. In December, Oak Ridge City Council members said Watson had not sought the Texas job but had been recruited.
More information will be added as it becomes available.