Waco City Council will vote Tuesday on replacing retiring City Manager Larry Groth with his right-hand man, Deputy City Manager Dale Fisseler.
The council interviewed Fisseler in closed session earlier this month and agreed to move forward with a vote without advertising the position.
“Based on his goals and vision, we didn’t think we could find a better fit,” Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr. said. “In two years of working here, with his familiarity with the council . . . and relationship with the staff, he had a huge leg up.”
Groth recruited Fisseler as assistant city manager in March 2011, shortly after Fisseler retired from a four-year tenure as Fort Worth city manager. Groth recommended Fisseler as his replacement, effective upon his March 1 retirement.
Groth said that as a Waco native with a distinguished résumé, Fisseler has the right combination of expertise and local knowledge.
“The reason I brought him in is that he has a great deal of experience and obviously has ties to the community,” Groth said. “He knows the culture of Waco and has good relationships in the city. He’s a smart guy with a great personality.”
Fisseler said he sees the Waco city manager’s position as a good fit.
“This would be a plum job for anyone in the city manager business, but especially for me, this being my hometown,” he said. “There’s a lot of activity, a lot of opportunity. Most impressive is the council and mayor. They really have their priorities straight.”
The resolution the council is set to approve Tuesday authorizes the mayor to negotiate compensation for Fisseler. Currently, his salary is $149,350, and Groth’s is $191,378.
Fisseler, 54, grew up in Waco as the son of a highway engineer. Les Fisseler is now retired as assistant district engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Dale Fisseler graduated from Richfield High School in 1977 and earned a civil engineering degree from Texas A&M University in 1981.
He worked for eight years in the utility department of the city of Dallas, then moved in 1990 to the Fort Worth utility department, where he became director in 1999. He was appointed Fort Worth assistant city manager in 2004 and city manager in 2007.
Fisseler is married to Linda Fisseler, a retired nurse and Waco native who now volunteers at the Veterans Affairs Hospital. They have two adult children, Stephanie and Ben.
Duncan said he thinks Fisseler’s connection to Waco will help keep him here.
“Oh yeah, as long as we have stability and leadership on the council,” Duncan said. “I think he’s here and committed to the city as much as Larry is. . . . He’s prepared for the challenge and has experienced a lot bigger government. He knows what the challenges are.”