St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray and Former City Manager Gary Edwards were having their weekly meeting, going down a normal agenda. Then came the sixth or seventh item: Edwards was resigning less than three months into the job.
St. Joseph Police Chief Chris Connally, Bruce Woody, Edwards and City Attorney Bryan Carter have been either acting, interim or bona fide city manager in the last year.
Carter was named the acting city manager on Thursday in a unanimous vote. Baker Tilly, a search firm, will now look for another candidate to lead the city.
“I was absolutely stunned,” McMurray said. “I had no idea, everything was going along great. He was doing a great job.”
Edwards resigned citing family health problems.
Baker Tilly won’t charge the city for another search, and McMurray told News-Press NOW that he expects to have interviews with candidates in about six weeks.
The search for Edwards took months, but McMurray said much of the groundwork is already done.
“It does put a stress on the city,” McMurray said. “We have to have continuity. Bryan, being the city attorney, certainly has a strong overview of operations.”
Edwards recommended Carter take over his role, and McMurray said it would be unfair to make Connally do the city manager job on a temporary basis for the third time.
As for the job hunt, McMurray said the average tenure for city managers is about five years, meaning candidates are likely already on the market.
While he didn’t specifically rule out revisiting former candidates, McMurray said the city would “throw out a new net and see who’s there.”