Sam Anselm resigns as Joplin city manager

Council votes unanimously to accept resignation
Sam Anselm resigns as Joplin city manager
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Joplin’s city manager resigned during a closed door meeting Monday night but the mayor said it was a mutual agreement.

City leaders announced Anselm’s resignation in a press release that included details of a severance package for the outgoing city manager.

Anselm himself issued the following statement, “I’m immensely proud of the work we have accomplished in the nearly eight years I’ve been with the city. And I’m grateful for the opportunity to have served as city manager since 2014. My family and I will cherish the friendships we’ve made and the many positive memories of our time here.”

Anselm took over as city manager after the firing of Mark Rohr and the failed relationship with tornado recovery developer Wallace Bajjali.

Mayor Gary Shaw said Anselm did his job well but it was time to part ways and it was a mutual agreement. Shaw said, “Nothing, he didn’t do anything really wrong or anything. There’s a confidence level that has to be established whenever you’re in a project. And, uh, sometimes some of the greatest baseball teams put together have to have changes in order to progress and move on.”

Shaw denied the failure of a new baseball team for Joe Becker stadium and salary issues with police and firefighters were factors for the separation.

Anselm is getting a severance package that includes seven months pay at more than three thousand dollars a week. The city will pay COBRA premiums for family health and dental insurance coverage; pay for unused vacation and floating holidays; withhold and pay taxes; and allow him to file unemployment if Anselm can’t find a job in seven months. Severance packages are not the norm for resignations. Mayor Shaw responded, “I think it was out of appreciation for the years and time he’s put in for us.”

Mayor Shaw pointed to a recent retreat and city strategic planning meeting for the city where the council discussed the future with Anselm. Shaw said a new chamber of commerce director and new president of the KCU Medical school represent a shift in momentum for the city.

“There’s a lot of positive things going on right now,” said Shaw. “This just seemed to be the best time for change for Sam, for the city employees, and the city itself. It was, I think council and Sam came to a conclusion. It was a win-win situation and it was time to do it.”

Anselm is already gone from City Hall with the resignation effective March 11, 2019.
The council begins discussing the search for a new city manager at next week’s council meeting on Monday.

Health department director Dan Pekarek will act as interim city manager.