No. 10: Bruce Woody takes over as city manager

Bruce Woody addresses the St. Joseph City Council after the announcement that he will serve as the new city manager in this News-Press file photo.

After nearly a decade of stability in the city manager’s office, 2011 brought three men to the seat at the head of the city’s administrative table.

The turnover was not a surprise, as longtime City Manager Vince Capell announced in 2010 his intent to leave office May 1, 2011. But when Mr. Capell announced his early departure from City Hall in March, the City Council found itself searching for a replacement for the only city manager most of its members had ever known.

Mr. Capell spent nine years as city manager — the longest tenure in St. Joseph’s history — after he held assorted positions in the city’s finance department for 12 years, including three as finance director.

Police Chief Chris Connally took over as interim city manager in March and guided the council through the annual budget-making process. In August, the council chose a familiar face, Public Works Director Bruce Woody, as its new city manager.

Mr. Woody had directed the public works department since 1997. He previously worked for the governments of Kansas City, Kan., Olathe, Kan., and the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Mayor Bill Falkner cited improved communication as one of the primary differences between Mr. Woody and Mr. Capell.

“The line of communications is just wide open between Bruce and I,” Mr. Falkner said. “We talk all the time.”

Mr. Capell issued frequent memos to the council to inform them of city staff’s progress on assorted projects. In contrast, Mr. Woody and Mr. Falkner spend more time talking on the phone or meeting face-to-face, according to the mayor.

With extensive experience in the public works department, Mr. Woody was mostly a known commodity for the council. The primary place where he has yet to prove himself may be the biggest — the crafting of the city’s annual budget — which Mr. Connally handled last year after Mr. Capell left.

“Chris and I got together to talk about how to present the budget, so I’m sure Bruce and I also will,” Mr. Falkner said. “It’s easier when everyone has been there before, and Bruce has been there.”

Clinton Thomas can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPThomas.

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