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Written by Erren Harter
The announcement last week that Mark McAnarney had been hired as Emporia’s new City Manager came as a surprise only because the City Commission had indicated they were hiring a search firm to help fill the position.
Mark comes about as well qualified to lead our city as anyone could be having worked as the Assistant City Manager for over two decades and having worked for several different city managers. He definitely has seen some good, some bad and even a little of the ugly.
Mark McAnarney knows the workings of Emporia’s city government better than anyone alive, so he’s a great choice.
Mark also knows Emporia. His wife Amy is an Assistant Principal at Emporia High where son Josh goes to school. Their other son Matt is off at college. They are both good kids. Mark and Amy built a nice home a few years ago and are truly invested in our community.
With that all said there are a few concerns I have for Mark.
First, is simple: his job now is to lead and not follow - just an adjustment, but one worth mentioning. This includes his relationship with the elected members of the city commission. They need to let Mark lead and not over direct his activities.
Second is that Mark’s relationship with other employees at the city has now changed dramatically. People who were once his co-workers are now his employees. There is no doubt many city employees looked to Mark to voice their needs and concerns to the city brass. Those days are gone. New relationships will need to be built.
My last concern is for Mark’s time. The city manager needs to be seen. He attends lots of meetings and events. Mark will be great at doing this but he has to find the time to also do his job - just another adjustment.
At the end of the day the city commission made the right choice. The City of Emporia has capable people in most key positions and they appear to have great respect for McAnarney – that’s good.
Mark McAnarney is honest, hard working, and extremely well prepared, but his greatest asset in my opinion is his sincerity. When you talk with Mark you know you are getting the truth. You know he’s not blowing smoke. If Mark doesn’t know the answer he’ll say so, that my friends is sincerity and a trait great leaders possess.
I’m Steve Sauder and there’s something to think about.