Gardner has a new management team on board, with at least one familiar face to long-time Gardner residents.
Laura Gourley was named as interim city administrator, effective Sept. 17, 2018.
Gourley is the granddaughter of Melvin Argo, who was Gardner’s mayor from 1957-1959.
Argo was one of the key persons who assisted in constructing the original nine-hole Gardner golf course at its current location. Originally it had sand greens. The course was constructed with the help of her father’s farm equipment. She is the daughter of Glen and Janet Bonar. A running joke between father and son was that if Glen didn’t approve of how it was done, he would just go out and dig the course up, Gourley said.
One of Gourley’s first jobs was working as typesetter for The Gardner News while still in Gardner Edgerton High School. She recalls typing into a machine and the type printed out on long, white sheets that was pasted to the page. She and Ruth Lundy, formerly of the Gardner Police Department, would then proofread, she said.
Gourley has been a Gardner city employee for nearly 30 years, spending the past 13 years as the finance department director. During her tenure, she has played an instrumental role on numerous projects and initiatives, including but not limited to, developing the annual budget and first biennial budget, evaluating incentive packages to support economic development projects, serving on strategic planning teams, and helping the city maintain an AA- bond investment rating through refinancing and wise investments. As the finance director, Gourley oversaw the accounting, utility billing, and municipal court divisions as well as the city’s grant program.
Gourley attended Baker University where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, graduating summa cum laude.
Matthew Wolff now serves as Gardner’s interim finance director. The position became temporarily vacant when Laura Gourley assumed the role of interim city administrator. Wolff has been with the city for nearly five years serving first as a management analyst and then as a senior management analyst.
Prior to coming to Gardner, he worked just under five years in Manhattan’s finance department, starting as a budget and audit analyst and then serving as a senior budget and project analyst. He earned an MBA with a concentration in finance from Kansas State University. He is also a certified public finance officer and has more than nine years of progressive experience in municipal government. Wolff remains an active executive board member of the Kansas Government Finance Officers Association, first holding the office of treasurer and now as secretary.