The City of Houston has a new city administrator: Local resident Lloyd Wells.

The city council announced Thursday that Wells had been selected from among a handful of finalists. His first day on the job is Monday (Sept. 11).

Wells, 49, is a retired United States Army Lt. Colonel who recently concluded a 27-year career in the military.

“I’m an Army brat,” he said, “so I was born at Fort Leonard Wood, but I grew up in Kansas and all of my family is from Arkansas.”

After graduating from high school in Leavenworth, Kan., Wells went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Central Missouri in 1996. He then entered the Army and served in several states, including Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, Mississippi and Missouri. After beginning as a combat engineer, his final duty was as the branch’s Chief of Operations and Plans.

Wells said he feels like his experience with the Army makes him well qualified for his new position.

“A lot of the qualifications and things they were looking for were things that a 27-year career in the United States Army prepared me for,” he said. “It’s in the range of my capabilities and what I know I’m good at, like leadership, coaching and mentoring.”

Wells’ wife, Bethany, is a Houston native who is employed by the Houston School District. The couple has two sons – Ross and Owen – and one daughter – Faith.

“In all honesty, I believe in this community,” Wells said. “I could have lived anywhere, but I chose to live in Houston. And I feel like you can either be a part of the solution or sit back and do nothing, and I’d rather be a part of the solution.”

Wells said he wants to “grab ahold” of the vision shared by the Houston City Council and Mayor Viki Narancich and help them move forward with it. He first came to Houston in 1996 and has lived here on a permanent basis since 2013.

Wells will be the town’s fifth city administrator since 2017.

“I want to stop that trend,” he said. “My wife is from here and I have a lot of family in this area. This is my home now and it’s where I want to live.”

Wells said he looks forward to becoming familiar with the city’s department leaders and employees, and hopes to boost morale within the ranks.

“I think that by and large, they’re all amazing at what they do,” he said, “so maybe it’s about fostering a climate where they’re appreciated and are truly serving the citizens of Houston.”

Despite the obvious differences, there are similarities in the way the Army and a city operates that should be beneficial, Wells said.

“In the Army, our budget comes from the taxpayers in the U.S.,” he said, “so we had to be good stewards of that money. It’s the same thing with city government, even if the dollar amounts are a little different. The language and terminology is going to be different and I’m going to have to adjust to some things, but you have to build teams and build cohesion, which is also the same.”

Wells’ hiring marks the first time in years that a local resident has been named city administrator.

“I think at times, getting someone who’s from the area can be a great thing, especially if you have qualified candidates,” he said. “When I first came here, I kind of fell in love with the town and I’m really looking forward to getting on the ground and getting to work.”

As he gets to work, Wells figures much of his focus will be on the city’s budget. He also expects to quickly get involved helping city officials with other top priorities, including infrastructure and housing, the addition of an economic development director to the city’s payroll, the ongoing high speed Internet fiber-to-the-home project, the plan for a sports quadplex and airport improvements.

“I’m glad to have the faith and trust from the mayor and aldermen, and I want to focus on what they want,” Wells said. “They are our elected officials and the citizens have put them in place to get things accomplished, so I want to make sure their vision is being pushed and we’re leading the city in the right direction.”

Wells plans to get out in the community and hear from the public.

“I want to visit local businesses and meet local citizens,” he said. “I really want to have that open and honest communication and have conversations with people.”

Wells can be reached by phone at Houston City Hall, at 417-967-3348.

“This is a relatively safe community where people know each other, and I really believe they care about each other,” he said. “This really is where I want to be and I’m excited to get started.”

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at

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