February 6, 2016

City administrator leaving city of Gardner

Gardner City Administrator Stewart Fairburn has accepted a job with the City of Chickasha, Okla and will start in that city on April 1.

Fairburn will assume the position currently held by retiring City Manager Larry Shelton.  Officials from Chickasha, population 17,192, selected Fairburn after conducting a nationwide search led by Chris Hartung Consulting, an executive search firm based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The appointment was announced today in a press release issued by Chickasha Mayor Hank Ross.

Ross touted Fairburn’s experience in successfully managing issues associated with the rapid growth in the Gardner community. He also cited the completions of a variety of capital improvement projects including a new city hall, water and waste water treatment plants, fire stations, an aquatic center, a 60-acre park with athletic facilities, and other infrastructure projects.

“Stewart has an intense financial background and I anticipate that will continue. With Stewart’s experience and leadership I am excited about the future of Chickasha,” Ross stated.

In December Fairburn celebrated his 10th anniversary as city administrator in Gardner.  He arrived in Gardner late in the winter of 2000 just as the city was in the middle of explosive growth.

Before landing in Gardner, his job took him on stops from Colorado to Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.

Attempts to reach Gardner City Administration and the mayor for comment have been unsuccessful.


  1. He will be missed!!!

  2. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Mr Fairburn’s new appointment is also reported in the Chickasha newspaper, http://chickashanews.com/local/x1569784217/Chickasha-hires-new-manager

    After 19 years of service with Chickasha, City Manager Larry Shelton announced his resignation on March 1, 2010, during an executive session of almost three hours before the City Council voted 5-3 to grant the resignation and retirement benefits. Shelton, who made no official statement on why he is leaving his position, was scheduled to leave office on June 30, 2011.

    Chickasha is about 35 miles southwest of Oklahoma City on I-44.

    Looking forward to the year 2030, the city Vision Statement regarding growth states “Chickasha offers superior essential services that invited businesses and families to locate and stay here. Chickasha encourages new and existing businesses through pro-business attitudes, support for renovation and rehabilitation of existing structures and a level playing field for expanding local/current businesses. These projects will be financially supported by the citizens of Chickasha, as an investment in our future.”

    From the city website:

    • The City of Chickasha has a Council-Manager form of government in which the elected Mayor and City Council members establish policy. Those policies are then implemented by the City Manager who is appointed by, and reports to, the City Council. The City Manager operates much in the same way that a Chief Executive Officer of a corporation does. The City Manager’s Office is responsible for the day-to-day administration of Chickasha’s city government, including managing the city’s budget, the city’s departments and operations, and programs for communicating with residents and employees.

    • The Chickasha City Council consists of eight Council Members and a Mayor. The Council is comprised of two elected members from each of the City’s four wards. One member from each ward is elected annually. The member must live in the ward that they represent, however all registered voters of the City are eligible to vote for that member. The Mayor is elected for a two-year term.

    • The Council Members also serve as members of the City’s Municipal Authority and Municipal Airport Authority.

    • The Chickasha City Manager’s Office encourages and oversees the efforts of all city departments to promote public participation in local government. The City Manager’s Office, along with all other city departments, strives to provide its citizens with information about city projects, considerations before City Council, and other issues that affect the public.

    Unfortunately, areas of Chickasha are in a flood plain, placing many residents and their property at high risk. The City has a Flood Ordinance that states “flood hazard areas of the City of Chickasha are subject to periodic inundation, which results in loss of life and property, health and safety hazards, disruption of commerce and governmental services, and extraordinary public expenditures for flood protection and relief, all of which adversely affect the public health, safety and general welfare.” Heavy rains on 12 occasions during the period 1981-2007 created flooding problems in areas of the city. The Community Development webpage references flood insurance studies in 1977, 1980 and 1993.

    In December of 2007, the Chickasha City Council introduced a Central Business District Historic Building Restoration and Improvement Grant Program for local merchants and property owners to stimulate revitalization of a ten-block downtown area. Funding is limited, and project application is prioritized on a fist-come, first-served basis. The City Council authorized a 20% grant for qualified expenses not to exceed $25,000 per project.

    The city recently completed a $6,000,000 Sports Park near its wastewater treatment plant, very similar to Gardner’s Celebration Park site.


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