Archive for Thursday, September 8, 2005

City hires interim administrator

September 8, 2005

A former city manager in the state of Texas will serve as De Soto city administrator for the next four to six months as the city looks for a replacement for Greg Johnson with both sides leaving open the option that the relationship could last longer.

After an executive session, the De Soto City Council agreed to hire Michael Webb as interim city administrator. The decision came after the council voted to contract a former Johnson County government administrator to do a city administrator search.

City Administrator Greg Johnson announced in August he had accepted a job as a municipal consultant with a financial firm in his native Wisconsin. His last day with the city is Sept. 19.

Webb, now a resident of Shawnee, served as city administrator of Argyle, Texas, a city in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex from 2001 to 2004, and city manager of Jacksboro, Texas, from 1996 to 2001. Before accepting that job, Webb spent eight years in various positions in Arizona and Texas cities following his completion of a master's degree in public administration in 1988 from North Texas State.

Webb left Texas when his wife, a community relations representative with Sprint Corporation, was reassigned to Johnson County.

Webb, who currently works as an independent consultant with the not-for-profit municipal service Innovation Groups, said Johnson contacted him about his interest after learning of his experience for a mutual acquaintance.

"I like doing interim work," he said. "I like working with smaller communities. I think it will be a good fit for them and me as well."

Webb will be in City Hall three days a week and attend city council meetings. His and the council's goal is to see that the pool, new wastewater treatment plant, street improvements, water master plan and other ongoing city projects continue moving forward, Webb said.

"I think the concern from the council's standpoint and Greg's, was that whoever they brought in on an interim basis was to make sure they didn't slip backward," Webb said. "Delayed projects generally equate to higher costs."

It could take from four to six months to get a new permanent city administrator in place, said the man hired to lead the search for the next city administrator. Dick Chesney, an assistant under Johnson County Administrator Gene Denton, was hired for $4,000 to conduct the search.

For that price, Denton will place an advertisement in a trade periodical and other appropriate publications, check resumes and cull applications for interviews with the city council. Mayor Dave Anderson said the city employed the same search method three years ago when Johnson was hired.

Webb said he was taking the interim job with both he and the council leaving open the possibility he could be a candidate of the full-time job.

"Really, I have not made a decision on that," he said. "At this point, it's just open.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

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