SWEENY — A Sweeny native with no previous municipal government experience will take over as Sweeny’s city manager.

Despite Reese Cook’s inexperience, the majority of council determined him to be the best choice from about 30 applicants, Council-woman Sandra Blaine said.

“I was so excited to see him come back to Sweeny and get the city on a positive path,” Blaine said. “I was hesitant to hire somebody from out of town because there’s the world’s way and there’s the Sweeny way. We like things to grow but still have that small-town atmosphere.”

A former Phillips 66 civil engineer, Cook replaces Cindy King, who served as the city clerk before she was promoted to city manager in 2010, according to a news release.

Council appointed Cook in late November, with a 5-1 vote to select him, Blaine said. Councilman Neal Bess voted against hiring Cook, Blaine said.

Bess did not respond to messages seeking comment.

“We knew (Cook) would delve into it,” Blaine said. “We weren’t concerned — he’ll learn; he has lots of avenues that can get him going in a positive direction. Some members of council felt like we were being too hasty, but I’m very excited about it.”

Coming from an outside town into Sweeny might have been a tough transition for a city manager who doesn’t understand the area, Blaine said.

“It means a lot, from growing up in Sweeny and living my entire life here,” Cook said. “It means a lot to me and my family for the City Council to appoint me and for me to be able to come back and serve the city in this way.”

Cook brings engineering experience to the role as he holds a civil engineering degree from Lamar University. After graduating in 2008, Cook worked as a rigging engineer for Holloway Houston until 2012, a news release states.

He then went on to accept a role with Phillips 66 where he supervised design, planning and scheduling, according to a news release.

“As I get settled into the city manager position, my hope is to hear concerns and compliments of the residents and work toward improving what needs to be improved and continuing and building upon the great traditions that we already hold dear in our small town,” Cook said in the release.

Cook said being city manager will be an interesting change of pace.

“I started reading about what a city manager does and it seemed like an interesting role, and it seemed like it was a change of pace and something new and interesting,” Cook said.

Cook said the growing area provides a great opportunity for the city and the community.

“There’s a lot of different ideas people have, but I think the biggest thing is that we’re a city with pride and making sure we uphold that,” Cook said.

Sweeny budgeted $70,000 for the city manager’s salary, Blaine said.

Courtney Blackann is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0152.

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