Archive for Thursday, September 17, 2009

Council finally gets its man

September 17, 2009

The Eudora City Council voted unanimously Monday to hire John Harrenstein as city administrator.

Harrenstein is a management analyst for Johnson County, where his duties include analyzing budgets and working on various projects for the county manager.

He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in public administration and organizational communication. He then received a master’s degree in public administration from Kansas University.

His contract is a three-year agreement that will pay him about $78,000 per year.

“It’s a humbling experience and I look forward to working with the community, getting to know them and serving them,” Harrenstein said. “It’s great to be on board.”

The hiring of Harrenstein, 27, ended a search that began in early June following the April 15 resignation of former Administrator Cheryl Beatty.

At the end of July, the city offered the position to the risk manager and a city attorney for the city of Lenexa Scott Hildebrand, who declined the contract about two weeks later.

Former Lawrence City Manager Mike Wildgen will continue as interim city administrator until Harrenstein starts Oct. 1.

Harrenstein, who grew up in Clear Lake, Iowa, said he looked forward to living in a town more comparable to the size of the one in which he grew up.

“I’m really excited about coming to a small town,” he said. “I always thought on my way (commuting) into Olathe and Johnson County, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if Eudora opened up.’ I was just fortunate enough that it did.”

Harrenstein, who grew up in Clear Lake, Iowa, said he looked forward to living in a town more comparable to the size of the one in which he grew up.

“I’m really excited about coming to a small town,” he said. “I always thought on my way (commuting) into Olathe and Johnson County, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if Eudora opened up.’ I was just fortunate enough that it did.”

That small town background is one of the characteristics that Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson liked about Harrenstein.

“He’s a small town guy so I think he’s going to fit in real good,” Hopson said. “I’m looking forward to us getting back to a sense of stability. Mike (Wildgen) did a good job for us until we got another person, and now that we have that person I’m looking forward to him getting to know everyone.”

At the top of Harrenstein’s to do list was moving forward with the economic development plan and making himself familiar with the people of Eudora.

“I look forward to building on the leadership that the council and the mayor have already shown with their economic development plan,” Harrenstein said. “I want to develop a relationship with not only the community, but also the staff members.”

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