Final four Joplin city manager candidates visit Joplin

Mayor Shaw hopes to announce their decision in the coming days

JOPLIN, Mo. – The city of Joplin has narrowed its search for a new city manager.

It’s a process that started in March 2019, after then City Manager Sam Anselm resigned.

Mayor Gary Shaw says they’ve been working with Strategic Government Resources to find candidates. After a search reboot in November, they’ve narrowed it down from 30 candidates to four.

“I think they all have their strong points in talking with them,” says Shaw.

Nick Edwards is a Joplin native and veteran. He worked for the City of Lee’s Summit since 2010, first as a Public Works Management Analyst, then a management analyst, assistant city manager, and director of administration. He was then the assistant city manager again from 2017 to 2019.

“Lee’s Summitt’s a great community. It’s award-winning, it’s regularly listed as one of the top ten places to live. And so understanding and knowing those best practices is something that I can bring to Joplin,” says Edwards.

You can watch the full interview with Nick Edwards here. (story continues below)

Darin Chappell is also from the Ozarks and was also in the military.

He’s been the city administrator in Seymore, Missouri, the city of Boliver, Missouri, and is currently the city administrator in Chillicothe, Missouri.

“The cities are in better financial considerations when I left than when I started. Boliver was near the point of bankruptcy and we turned it around in five years. I’d like to be able to look back after several years, and say this is what we did together,” says Chappell.

You can watch the full interview with Darin Chappell here. (story continues below)

Shawn Henessee grew up in Wichita, Kansas, and also has a lot of different experiences in local government.

He was the assistant director for Jackson County, Missouri, the county administrator in Marinette County Wisconsin, the city administrator for Pleasent Hill, Missouri, and is currently the county administrator for Clark County, Washington.

“Joplin is facing ongoing growth, and there’s been a lot of efforts to improve the infrastructure and as Joplin continues to grow, there will be more and more pressures for that. The combination of both my work experience, [and] my education background I think is one of the best assets that I bring,” says Henessee.

You can watch the full interview with Shawn Henessee here. (story continues below)

And finally Leonard Sossamon.

He’s been the city manager in Concord, North Carolina, the county administrator for Newberry, South Carolina, and was the County Administrator for Hernando County, Florida from 2012 to 2019.

“My first 90 days I had two tropical storms and a hurricane. So I have dealt with bad weather. And I know you’re still recovering here. I would love to work with the staff to help some of those neighborhoods that still need to be redeveloped and brought back to life,” says Sossamon.

You can watch the full interview Leonard Sossamon here. (story continues below)

Mayor Gary Shaw says the city council will be spending some more time with the candidates before making a final decision because they want to make sure to get it right.

“I’ve made the comment I think several times that I feel that Joplin’s greatest days are ahead of us. It’s very important that we find somebody that can take time and respect the people that we have in place, and yet has a vision to help us to go to the next step,” says Shaw.

Shaw says they hope to announce who will be the new city manager within the next couple of days.