April 19, 2014

City administrator to leave Gardner for Oklahoma job

Amy Cunningham
acunningham@gardnernews.com

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

Stewart Fairburn

Fairburn’s resignation with the City of Gardner was tendered Feb. 8 and is effective March 7.  In the meantime, according to Gardner Mayor David Drovetta, the governing body will begin the process of searching for a replacement; however, the mayor said that he believes they will wait to hire someone until the new council is seated following this April’s election.
Drovetta expects to utilize a search firm to locate the next city administrator.

“I’m hoping to be able to i.d. a search firm soon so that we can get that process started and get candidates identified,” Drovetta explained.  “Any candidate that we will interview will want to wait to interview with the most current government.”

Fairburn will assume the Chickasha position currently held by retiring City Manager Larry Shelton.  Officials from that city, 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 announcedTuesday 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.

Drovetta cited Fairburn’s infrastructure and recreational improvement accomplishments in Gardner as a big part of the success the city has seen over the last decade.  He also specifically noted changes that Fairburn made to the city’s accounting systems.

“The way we budget has improved dramatically over the years to the point where we’re winning awards,” Drovetta said.

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