Joplin Mayor Gary Shaw explains why the city is starting over on city manager search

The City of Joplin had narrowed their search for a new city manager to five candidates, but then, the city announced it was starting the search over. We sat down with the mayor to find out why the city is starting from square one.

Following the sudden departure of Sam Anselm from the City Manager post, Health Department Director Dan Pekarek stepped in to fill that role. The city then hired an outside firm to find it’s next city manager, and the city had it down to four candidates, but two dropped out, and the city council began to re-evaluate the search. Mayor Gary Shaw says “We just kinda put a halt to where we were, we hope that those two candidates that were still left will apply and there may be our city manager in those two, but we just thought it would be better at this time to kinda open the field a little bit once again.”

Mayor Shaw says one thing that’s helpful, is there’s no additional fees to re-open the search. “So our goal now is to have some applicants and kinda hone them down to the final few by the middle of January.”

Mayor Shaw says this also allows the city the opportunity to be 100% certain, they’ve made the right choice. “We’ve come so far with where, from the tornado, we’ve been able to accomplish so much, and it was really important that our next city manager, he or she, would be one that could take us to the next step.”

When asked if Dan Pekarek would be interested in the job, Mayor Shaw says Dan would rather return to his role as Health Department Director, because he’s been in that position for so long.

Now, there’s one other role the city hasn’t had filled, and was last occupied by Sam Anselm under former City Manager Mark Rohr. “One of the things that we’d like to see, one of the things the council has worked on for a number of years is we’d like to see an Assistant City Manager in place.”

Mayor Shaw says having a qualified person in that place, whether hired from within or from outside, would help in the future should they need to fill the city manager post again.

Shaw says they hope to have a new city manager in place before the April elections.

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