Archive for Thursday, March 9, 2006

Guilfoyle takes charge

City’s new administrator now on job

March 9, 2006

On Pat Guilfoyle's new desk late Monday morning were two calendars, a copy of the city of De Soto's 2006 budget and a small Groucho Marx statue that dispensed newly printed business cards identifying Guilfoyle as De Soto city administrator.

The calendars were needed as Guilfoyle prepared for a busy first week in his new job. Out of town on business most of this week, De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson joked last Thursday that Guilfoyle would be on his own after his first morning on the job. He also knew that with 26 years of experience in city management in five states, Guilfoyle hardly needs his hand held.

The big item on Guilfoyle's agenda was, of course, the all-important task of meeting with city staff and the community.

"The mayor understands the first week is getting exposed to a lot of stuff and beginning to work the community," Guilfoyle said. "This week, I plan a day to formally introduce myself to city staff and give them a chance to get acquainted with the new critter in town."

Introductions Monday included a visit to the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education meeting, where Guilfoyle said the district's reputation was one of the things that attracted him to the job. The Fort Scott native also shared the story of his wife, Sally's, first teaching job as a Spanish teacher at then De Soto Junior High while he was in graduate school in the early 1970s at Kansas University. That school is now City Hall.

"I've come full circle," he said.

The new administrator starts a week after the city got its first valuation numbers to be used in the 2007 budget. That explained the presence of the 2006 budget on Guilfoyle's desk and foreshadowed one of his early focuses. He was scheduling meetings with city department heads for the coming days to start work on the budget process, he said.

As for his personal agenda, Guilfoyle has made considerable headway since being hired in January. The Guilfoyles have purchased a home in De Soto's Timber Trails subdivision and sold their home in Piscataway, N.J., a city of 52,000 at which Guilfoyle served as township manager the past five years. His wife will remain behind in New Jersey until May 3, a week after they close on their new home in De Soto.

Meanwhile, he will take advantage of one of the things that interested him in the De Soto job, his many family ties in the Kansas City area.

"I was going to stay with my brother in Lee's Summit, but that seemed like a long drive, especially during rush hour," he said. "I have a cousin in Lenexa who said, 'Why don't you stay with us?' It's 19 miles port to port, so I'll stay with him instead."

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