Questions surrounding Cheryl Harrison-Lee’s employment situation may be answered after an executive session scheduled for the Sept. 4 Gardner City Council meeting.
Although unconfirmed, sources with knowledge of city operations say, said Harrison-Lee, city administrator, was put on administrative leave last week with a possible termination to be considered.
An e mail sent to Mayor Steve Shute regarding Harrison-Lee’s employment was not answered; however, the public information officer said although she was unable to discuss personnel issues, she could confirm Harrison-Lee was still an employee as of Aug. 29.
Although an e mail to Harrison-Lee’s city e mail address was not responded to, a statement was issued by Harrison-Lee Aug. 30.
“There are questions regarding my status with the City of Gardner.  I do not intend to make any public statement, except that I hope to continue serving our city,” Harrison-Lee wrote.
She continued: “In September the City of Gardner will receive for the first time ever an international Certificate of Excellence in Performance Management recognition from the City Managers Association.
In 2017, the City also received the following awards:
Innovative Recreation Program Award from Kansas Parks and Recreation Association,
Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (received three consecutive years),
Healthy Kansas City “Silver” Level Certification from the Kansas City Area Chamber of Commerce, and
“Tree City USA”, continuing our long history of receiving this award.
Gardner now has a new Comprehensive Plan, Land Development Code, Economic Development Strategic Plan, Economic Development Incentive Policy, Growth Management Strategy, and Capital Improvement Element.   As a result of this progress, the city was able to compete for Amazon’s next headquarters and we have over $200 million in economic development projects under construction or in review.    The city is poised for the future and I hope everyone shares my pride in our city.”
A native of South Carolina, when Harrison-Lee was hired in 2012 she said she saw Gardner as a city on the cusp of economic transformation. In 2017, Gardner had over $200 million in projects under construction or review.
Harrison-Lee has a bachelor’s in journalism and worked briefly as a reporter with CBS and as a legislative page in the South Carolina legislature before receiving her degree in public administration. She moved to this area to be near her sister.
This story will be updated at gardnernews.com as information becomes available.