Oct 14, 2020 7:03 PM

New city manager ready to take on challenges in St. Joseph

Posted Oct 14, 2020 7:03 PM
Gary Edwards/Photo courtesy of the City of St. Joseph
Gary Edwards/Photo courtesy of the City of St. Joseph

By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Gary Edwards says he’s ready to get started, though it will be a while before the new St. Joseph City Manager officially begins work at City Hall.

Edwards is wrapping up duties as city manager of Aransas Pass, Texas with an official start date in St. Joseph of November 9th.

Edwards says there are a lot of challenges ahead, including getting to know city leadership.

“Simply getting used to the community, mayor and council, and staff. I’m going to be new to them and they’re going to be new to me,” Edwards tells St. Joseph Post. “So, getting to know them and putting myself in a position so that they can learn to trust me. You have to build up that trust. It doesn’t happen automatically.”

Edwards says his first duty will be to get to know the mayor and city council and understand the direction they want to take the city.

“They make policy. Staff carries out that policy,” according to Edwards. “Understanding what they want to accomplish, because they’re representatives of the citizen of the people; understanding what their goals are, what their objectives are is a critical challenge that I need to learn as quickly as possible.”

Edwards plans to visit St. Joseph this weekend and attend the St. Joseph City Council meeting Monday.

Edwards is wrapping up business at Aransas Pass, Texas where he serves as city manager. Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast city in 2017 with recovery efforts only now winding down, the last federal disaster aid paperwork being submitted.

Edwards has worked in Missouri previously, both in city government and for the late Congressman Ike Skelton, who served central Missouri. Edwards also worked for former Lt. Gov. Harriett Woods. He says he and his wife are eager to return to Missouri and begin work in St. Joseph, which he calls a beautiful city full of history.

Edwards says that during the hiring process city leaders aren’t only evaluating him, he is evaluating them. He came away pleased with what he heard.

“They truly were interested, and this is no small point, they were truly interested in the community,” Edwards says. “And they want to, from what I saw, want to improve and make stronger the community. They want this person, the city manager, to help them reach that goal.”