September 1, 2014

OUR VIEW: Administrative change opens door to a new start

It is the beginning of a new era for the community of Gardner.
New administrative leadership — with the hiring of Cheryl Harrison-Lee — provides an  opportunity to close the door on one of the bleakest periods in the city’s history.
Many of us would just as soon forget the past seven years.
Beginning with BNSF’s 2005 announcement to build an intermodal logistics park facility and ending last year with an altercation between two council members that resulted in a resignation and criminal charges, Gardner has been a hot spot of contention.
When Stewart Fairburn resigned the city’s top administrative post more than a year ago, we wondered who would be interested in the job, given the heated political climate.
A city administrator could find an easier job in any number of cities.
But after meeting with Harrison-Lee last week, the editorial board is confident that the city council hired the right person for the job.
Particularly impressive is that Harrison-Lee’s resume includes both private and public sector work.
She started her career as a broadcast journalist before moving into public administrative work including community development, public works and capital projects, finance, public transportation and urban development.
Harrison-Lee has seen government operate from both sides of the fence.
That’s a good thing.
With Harrison-Lee on board, Gardner has an opportunity to heal and move forward.
She told The Gardner News that she considers herself a “consensus builder” and that she sees her role as “being a steward of the community’s vision.”
Harrison-Lee also said that she believes in citizen involvement.
These are qualities sorely needed in Gardner today.
We wish Harrison-Lee much success.

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