What does city/county management mean to you?
First and foremost, city management is love of the people of the community I serve. I love them, so I work hard to understand their viewpoint, to speak their language when explaining complicated matters, to provide necessary services and a high quality of life for them, and to find a way to say “Yes” whenever possible, just as I do for my family. This also means “tough love” may occasionally be required. City management is accountability in action. The Commission and I are accountable to the citizens of our community as we steward their money and enforce and enact policies by which we believe they should abide for the overall well-being of our community. City management is persistence and perseverance. We strive each day to cultivate relationships that will grow our community, to make our community a better place. There are challenges and setbacks, and patience is certainly required. Ultimately we will achieve the goals we set if we continue to remove the barriers to our success.
What does a successful improvement or project look like?
As Wynndee Lee of Ottawa most eloquently stated, “ A successful project is one that the vision is shared between citizens and elected officials, is sound fiscally, delivered successfully, and improves the community.”
What is one improvement (operational, policy or physical) that you are most proud of in your current city/county?
The City of Concordia was awarded a $6.95M supplemental appropriation award to the FAA Airport Improvement Program in May 2019 for the construction of new, longer and wider runway at Blosser Municipal Airport. Construction will begin in the fall of 2020, and is anticipated to be complete in late 2021. This was one of three awards in Kansas, and requires no local match. Additionally, in February 2020, the Concordia was awarded an additional $567,000 for taxiway lighting at the airport, requiring a 10% local match. We are grateful for the opportunity to enhance the runway and taxiway at Blosser Municipal Airport as a result of these grant awards. It would have been extremely difficult to fund the full 10% local match required to accomplish this project within our normal capital improvement fund, and still provide for other infrastructure needs within our community. Lengthening and widening the runway sets the stage for larger planes to take off and land at Blosser Municipal Airport, thereby allowing existing businesses to expand, removing a barrier to new businesses considering Concordia, and providing for safer options for air ambulance service to support our local and regional hospitals. This project would not have been possible without the support of our local pilots, the City Commission, the FAA, our airport planning consultant, and our state and federal elected officials advocating on our behalf. This project was listed in our ACIP for ten years, and we are finally able to complete it.
If you could share one piece of career related wisdom to a colleague, what would it be?
Ask questions with the intent of learning not only the answer, but also the context of the situation. And be prepared to perform your own research after you have asked questions. This will help to maintain a growth mindset and to keep your focus on serving others.