September 1, 2014

Gardner extends Press’s contract for 1 month

Mark Taylor
mtaylor@gardnernews.com
Mike Press will be Gardner’s interim city administrator for one more month.
The city council approved a one-month extension of Press’s interim consulting contract through July 31.
That will keep Press on board for two weeks after new City Administrator Cheryl Harrison-Lee starts work.
According to Harrison-Lee’s contract, her first day with the city will be July 16.
Harrison-Lee’s previous experience includes municipal government experience in Florida.
She is also a former district manager with the Florida Department of Transportation.
In the meantime, Press is managing the city under an interim contract.
The contract pays him $9,000 per month.
Former City Administrator Stewart Fairburn left for a job in Oklahoma more than a year ago.
Press is a retired Johnson County manager, and also served as interim administrator for the city of Edgerton.
Press said he believes two weeks will provide enough time for Harrison-Lee to take over the city’s top appointed post.
He also said he would make himself available to her during the transition.
“I will be available after that (contracted period) at no cost to the city to answer any questions she might have,” Press said.
Councilman Larry Fotovich voted against the measure.
In other business, the council heard a proposal from Press to combine two administrative staff positions.
Press suggested combining the former assistant city administrator, finance director and community development director positions.
“Any good finance director is the first place you would look for an assistant city administrator,” Press said.
He said the jobs could be combined for the salary previously paid to the assistant city administrator.
“It is an internal (staff) shift,” Press said. “It is not a request for a new position.”
The city eliminated the community development director job as a result of the economy.
Melissa Mundt, assistant city administrator, resigned her post last month to accept a job in Ames, Iowa.
Press said he was making the suggestion for the council to consider..
The council is expected to vote on the action at a future meeting.

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