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The Eudora City Commission on Monday night hired Mike Press as the new City Manager. Press, who has served as Interim City Manager since March of this year, was hired on annual contract basis. The initial contract will run one year, with an option to renew it yearly for two additional years.
Press worked for the Johnson County, KS government for nearly 30 years, the last ten as County Manager before retiring in 2009. Press also served as Interim City Manager for the cities of both Gardner, KS and Edgerton, KS in 2011 and 2012. Press replaces John Harrenstein who left Eudora in March for a similar position in North Mankato, MN.
Press, who had stated emphatically upon his arrival that he was most certainly “interim”, had a change of heart in his three short months in Eudora.
“This is a great community and I’ve grown to appreciate and love this town,” Press said following the announcement.
Press had worked with the City Commission in trying to find an permanent Manager. Just a month ago, the Commission had narrowed down the pool of applicants to two finalists and offered the job to one of them, with Press not being one of the finalists. The identity of the finalist the position was offered to was not identified by name.
“The situation with the other applicant did not work out,” Press told us. Press said he could not elaborate further on the events surrounding why it did not work out.
Other applicants were interviewed by the Commission but according to Mayor Ruth Hughs, none of the other candidates sparked serious interest by the Commission as a permanent City Manager.
“I believe Eudora needs and deserves a City Manager who has passion and drive to move a city forward,” Hughs said. “We are on a journey to excellence and finding the right City Manager to get us there is critical. Mike embodies all the qualities we could want in a City Manager.”
Commission Kenny Massey also had high praise for the work Press has done as Interim City Manager.
“He’s provided us great leadership for the last few months and with his experience in Johnson County plus the contacts he has already built up over the years, we thought this was the right thing to do,” Massey said. “I’m excited about his experience and knowledge he will bring to the table in the future.”
When asked if the Commission had to work hard to get Press to stay on permanently, Massey said that the City didn’t have to do much arm twisting.
“While I can’t speak for Mike directly, I really think when he got here, he felt really comfortable in this town. I think he saw the potential and the opportunity to help move Eudora forward,” Massey stated.
During his time as Interim City Manager, Press’ agenda was to help keep the city functioning and moving forward, but not necessarily delve into long term projects and initiatives. Now that the interim tagged has been removed we asked what he plans on for the coming months as the new City Manager.
“We’ve got to look at economic development in Eudora,” Press said. “Bringing in new families and new business while retaining and expanding the current businesses is such an important factor. I also plan on making sure our infrastructure is maintained and improvements to it are made in the future.”