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Cabrales named interim Lake Dallas city manager

The Lake Dallas City Council voted unanimously in a special meeting on Thursday to hire former Denton Assistant City Manager John Cabrales as its interim city manager.

The decision comes more than a week after the council voted unanimously to terminate then-City Manager Matt Shaffstall's contract less than a year after he was hired. A press release from the city said the council "desired to go in a different direction with the leadership of the city staff."

After an hour-long deliberation in executive session and an interview with Cabrales, council members directed city staff to negotiate a contract that would begin as early as Saturday.

"I think the atmosphere has increased in joy," Lake Dallas Mayor Michael Barnhart said. "What he brought to the executive session, the answers he had, made everyone feel really comfortable about what he could do. Hopefully, through this interim, it can lead to a long-term relationship."

John CabralesCourtesy photo
John Cabrales
Courtesy photo

Cabrales comes to Lake Dallas from the South Texas-based Texas First Group and will serve as the city manager until a permanent replacement is found. Cabrales was a longtime employee with the city of Denton and moved into an assistant city manager position in 2012. Cabrales resigned from the city in June.

"I'm looking forward to working with the Lake Dallas City Council and staff and seeing how I can help them transition in this interim period," Cabrales said. "I hope to use my municipal experience I've acquired over the years to help keep things moving in the right direction until they decide what to do in regards to the next city manager."

Officials still have the option to use Keller-based Strategic Government Services for the permanent city manager search. Because Shaffstall — a find from the firm when Lake Dallas conducted the initial search in 2016 — didn't stay in place for at least 18 months, the firm will conduct another search for free.

Matt Shaffstall, former Lake Dallas city managerCourtesy photo
Matt Shaffstall, former Lake Dallas city manager
Courtesy photo

Although Barnhart said he and the council want to get through the city budget process before delving deep into the search, the council directed city staff to start the preliminary steps during a board meeting June 22.

CAITLYN JONES can be reached at 940-566-6862.