February 11, 2016

Council discusses hiring new administrator

Danedri Thompson

Hiring a new city administrator will be challenging. That’s the word from  Gardner City Council member Steve Hale and Mayor Dave Drovetta.

The council selected members Kristina Harrison and Brian Broxterman to assist Drovetta in hiring a consulting firm to search for a new administrator during a meeting March 21.

Drovetta said the city administrator position is one of two city jobs that requires residency.

“That makes recruitment somewhat challenging,” Drovetta said.

Three consulting firms have offered to assist the city in its search, and Harrison, Broxterman and Drovetta will decide which company to use and at what cost.

“I don’t think it will be an easy process,” Hale said.

He cited a variety of challenges he believes the council will face in finding an administrator to replace Stewart Fairburn.

“We don’t have the best reputation in the development community,” Hale said.

Additionally, some of the current candidates for council have taken anti-development stances, which could create concern for potential administrator hires, he explained.

“We have a newspaper that tells us we’re not going to have sidewalks and trees,” he said. “That could be a concern.”

Drovetta said he doubted a city administrator candidate would accept the job without knowing who was going to be on the council. Three members of the five-member city council will be replaced during an April 5 election. There are eight candidates vying for three at-large seats, and none of the incumbents are seeking re-election.

“Like I said, it’s going to be challenging,” Drovetta responded.

Drovetta said the committee of three would solely select a recruitment firm. A new council would interview candidates for the city administrator position.

Fairburn served as the city’s administrator for a little more than 10 years. He accepted a position in Chickasha, Okla. His last day with the city was March 7. He starts his new job on April 1.

In other business, council members:

• approved the purchase of three new police cars, Ford Crown Victorias, from Shawnee Mission Ford. The city will pay no more than $65,860 for the new vehicles. The cost includes $4,500 for graphics and deductions for the trade-in of old cars.
The new cars will replace a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria with 88,152 miles; a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria with 90,335; and a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria with 82,095 miles.
The purchases were approved in the 2011 budget.

•  approved a conditional use permit for MARCK Industries, located at 800 N. Center Street. The company has operated a warehouse for recyclables including mixed plastics and mixed cardboard since 2007 and has been operating without a permit since that time.
Company officials requested a permit to expand operations in 2009, however the project was put on hold. City officials, however, determined that the company would need a conditional use permit. Although regular warehouses do not require permits, city code requires that a storage of products that are highly combustible requires a permit.

• approved an amendments to the city code that updated submission checklists for developers. The checklist updates include revised plat checklists and other application checklists.


  1. Samuel K says:

    Why don’t they just appoint the interim city administrator to the position. She’s apparently blonde. What other qualifications are needed? It’s served her well so far.

  2. March 25, 2011–

    Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland announced today in the address to the City of Olathe that as of 12:01 this morning, Olathe is in a quiet zone–free of the 5 hours of train whistles from the 120 trains that run daily.

  3. Olathe has worked for years to get their quiet zone and paid millions and millions of dollars to get it.

    Olathe pays to get rid of the trains – Drovetta wants the citizens to pay Billions for the trains and the millions of trucks and the pollution and loss of quality of life………..think that Mayor and his appointed Council are working for ya….you might want to check with Austin’s and the hardware store that went out of business on that question too………..think BIG in Gardner, that is big business and sell your small business owners (at least not the ones on the take) and your average citizens down the river……..

  4. Hugo Chavez says:

    I love Judith.

    The world needs more crazy people. They’re fun!

  5. (SMILE)…………

  6. If ya all don’t wake up to the corruption, we all will be marching to the tune of a real “Hugo” dictator.

  7. Well said, Granny. And that “Hugo Dictator” can be a all levels, city, county, state and federal.

    An electorate that is not informed is a true danger to democracy. And people who think they are informed by going to Facebook, Twitter and entertainment and biased blogs, radio and television programs that are called “news” outlets are a danger to democracy.

    If ALL city meetings would be videotaped along with responsible journalism and if the people were doing their jobs by informing and educating themselves, then you would see an improvement in the representation the citizens would be getting since those special interests would have a much harder time in getting in every citizen’s pockets – that is if the citizens would speak out, make better choices at the voting booth and set the bar for excellence instead of going along with dirty, rotten politics and cronyism government brought to you by wrongdoers.

  8. The next City Administrator should have been hired prior to Mr. Fairburn leaving. Said person should have had the opportunity to work side-by-side with Mr. Fairburn in an effort to learn the ins and outs of the various job responsibilities so that he/she may take on the tasks without the City missing a beat. What better way to usher in the new CA?

    Instead, it is two weeks after Mr. Fairburn leaving and we have a council who has just now appointed three of its own members to form a committee to then hire a consulting firm that will then report back to the entire council who will then blah blah blah blah blah.

    Now, Mr. Fairburn announced his resignation in early February, leaving only a month to find someone as a replacement to work alongside him. Hiring CA certainly should not be rushed as it is a very important job. It may not have been feasible to line up in the next CA in that short time frame. But why not try? I don’t really care what the answer to that question is. What concerns me more is why in the hell the City didn’t address the vacancy until two weeks after the fact and only then pouted that finding a new candidate would be hard because the newspaper was a Mr. Big Meanie Head to them.

  9. The Mayor and the present City Council, I feel, were very aware Mr. Fairburn would be leaving since it was reported months ago he lost out on a job bid on the west coast. I say the City had months and months of notice of Fairburn leaving – Drovetta or no one else should be trying to say much advance notice was not given. I just say due care and much scrutiny should be given in picking the next city manager but perhaps even more important, the people should really be thinking long and hard about who they are going to vote for in this upcoming election and realize what a big mistake they made a few years ago when voting for the mayor’s position. That City Mgr. serves at the plesure and at the direction of the Mayor – all should be very cognizant of that fact and if you have an appointed Council, you are dead on arrival.

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