Scott Sellers, City Manager, Kyle, Texas, Connect
Scott graduated cum laude in 2006 with a Masters Degree in Public Administration—City Management. Before coming to Kyle, he served as the city manager for the City of Kilgore, Texas. He has also served as the acting city manager for the City of Montrose, Colorado, and the assistant city manager for the City of Centralia, Illinois.
Scott has experienced many facets of local government and the highs and lows that go with serving the public. He spent the first part of his career focusing on titles, credentials and achievements but realized that there was something much more significant. He found that his real passion is developing the next generation of leaders.
Scott has discovered that the city managers of tomorrow have incredible potential and an amazing opportunity to significantly improve the governance of local communities. His mission during the second half of his career is to show them their potential and help them become wildly successful.
The City of Kyle is a south Austin suburb of roughly 50,000 people. It is one of the fastest growing cities in America and sits strategically in the Innovation Corridor between Austin and San Antonio. It is the Pie Capital of Texas and home to the annual Pie in the Sky festival. Kyle had just over 5,000 residents in the year 2000 when it adopted its city charter.
In a dream world, which bands would headline your retirement party?
Metallica, Tool, Weezer, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, or any other great rock band from the 80s & 90s.
(Complete the sentence) Before I die I want to…
….live life to the fullest.
Three most influential books in your life.
Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance by Bob Buford
If you could FaceTime with five people (dead or alive and not including family members), who would be on the list?
- Myself from 30 years ago
- Richard Rohr
- Elon Musk
Describe the inside of your car.
Faded and cracked leather seats, an old tape deck and cd player (yep, it’s a 2000 Grand Cherokee), a rearview mirror that’s been re-glued countless times, a gas gauge that works half the time, but overall relatively decluttered.
Give us three bullet points that best describe local government in your state.
- Best management and staff anywhere
- Leading edge and trend setters
- Growing like crazy!
What was your dream job as a 12-year old? What was your first local government job?
At age 12 I wanted to join the CIA. However, I ultimately married a woman that did not want to raise our children overseas. I floundered throughout college trying to figure out what I wanted to do.
I had six declared majors and ultimately decided on Recreation Management as an undergrad. When I realized I wouldn’t be able to provide for a large family on a small salary, I decided to go back to grad school.
I had never really heard of a city manager before, but was desperate for a career. I started reading the graduate course catalog starting at the beginning.
Several hours later I reached Master of Public Administration and it contained words such as altruism, service, giving-back, community, etc.
These words spoke to me and I knew this was what I needed to do. I had a year-long internship during the MPA program as a budget intern, and ultimately landed my first full-time job as an assistant city manager for the City of Centralia, Illinois.
Give us your top three career accomplishments.
- Learning that people matter more than achievements
- Assisting TCMA with the City Managers of Tomorrow Committee
- Starting my own successful side business
We often learn from our mistakes. Name one or two career mistakes that you have made that you think we could learn from.
I used to see employees as a means to an end and not as people. Through several challenging experiences I learned to appreciate them for who they are. I now take a much more active and emotional interest in their well-being, families, and goals. This has been part of the process of converting from a manager to a leader and friend.
How can local governments better communicate their role in the everyday lives of the community?
By getting as many people as possible to tell our story and share our vision. We need to turn our citizens into brand ambassadors by sharing the brand as much as possible.
Would you encourage your family and friends to consider a career in local government?
Absolutely! I encourage everyone I know to pursue a career in local government. It is not always easy but it is definitely rewarding. There are few careers where you can make such a difference in the lives of so many people.
Hypothetically, if we find ourselves interviewing for a job in front of you, talk about three steps we can take to make a good impression.
- Don’t be fake (i.e. don’t try too hard). Just be natural. Remember, by the time you receive an interview we already know you can do the job. At this point we are looking for fit.
- Dress professionally.
- Have examples and visual aids to tell your story.
In a sentence, tell us about the City Managers of Tomorrow Committee.
A TCMA initiative that bridges the gap between the local government and education sector through a consolidated internship portal, managers in residence, intercollegiate bowl, and #ELGLInspire events.