Council names administrator for Tonganoxie
Tonganoxie Mayor John Franiuk appeared to be in good spirits Monday night when he announced the hiring of a new city administrator.
Christopher Clark, 34, the assistant to the director of the town of Wellesley, Mass., since August 1997, will begin working in Tonganoxie the first of August. Tonganoxie will pay Clark $47,000 a year.
Franiuk said he's looking forward to Clark's arrival.
"We'll have a reception with cookies and punch to introduce him to the public," Franiuk said with a chuckle. "We'll get him brainwashed real quick we'll get him moving in our direction."
Clark said he's looking forward to moving to Tonganoxie.
"My wife, Stacey, is originally from the Salina area, so she is very especially excited about moving back," Clark said. "Her mom and stepfather live in Olathe, so we'll be in close proximity to them."
Clark said that when he visited Tonganoxie earlier this month to interview, his family came with him. He said he was impressed by the downtown renovation, the new businesses on the highway and the city parks where he took his children, Mitchell, 6, and Morgan, 4, to play.
A lifelong Massachusetts resident, in 1988 Clark earned an undergraduate degree in political science at Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, and in 1990 a master's degree in public administration from Suffolk University, Boston.
Since then, Clark has served as assistant administrator in three Massachusetts towns: from 1990 to 1994 in Westborough, population 15,000; from 1994 to 1997 in Walpole, population 26,000; and from 1997 through the present in Wellesley, population 28,000.
Laurence Shind, chairman of Wellesley's board of selectmen, said Clark will be missed.
"If he were coming to us saying he was leaving us for any reason other than his family, we'd all try to talk him out of it," Shind said. "We hate to see him go. We know he's going to be a big gain for your community."
While holding the $66,693-a-year position in Wellesley, Clark was instrumental in consolidating a dispatch system for police and fire calls.
"That has not been an easy transition for the police or fire department," Shind said. "Chris has been in charge of seeing that the system has got up and running and it's working very well."
This included the planning, training the dispatchers, getting the police and fire patrolmen on board and behind the project, as well as dealing with technological issues, Shind said.
According to Shind, Clark's strengths reflect his diligence, work ethic and personality.
"When he announced publicly that he was leaving, the board unanimously commented on how hardworking he is and how he always gets to the bottom of any ideas and follows up," Shind said. "He follows everything through to completion."
Further, Shind said, Clark's people skills help get the work done.
"He has a friendly manner and he earns people's respect even when they don't necessarily agree with what he's carrying out," Shind said.
Sandy Hobson, administrative secretary to the board of selectmen, said Clark is well-versed in financial matters.
"He did a lot of budget work, worked on financial statements and presentations to the board," she said.
Hobson said Clark also negotiated with unions, including the department of public works employees, teachers, firefighters and police officers.
In addition, Hobson said Clark applied for state grants to help fund public housing and highway and road improvements.