I am honored to have recently been named Atchison’s Interim City Manager and I want to thank the City Commission for their trust and support. Being the City Manager, even on an interim basis, comes with profound responsibility and it is important to me that I clearly communicate my intentions going forward.
Although I’m honored and excited to serve as the Interim City Manager for the next 9 months, I do not wish to be considered a candidate for the permanent City Manager position.
As I’ve been telling my family, friends, and colleagues for some time, I’ve developed a passion for real estate development projects, especially downtown housing, and I intend to continue pursuing those efforts as a private endeavor in the coming years. I have fully disclosed the extent of my real estate interests to the City Commission. They’ll be responsible for managing my performance as Interim City Manager as well as any real or perceived conflicts of interest with my real estate interests during this interim period.
After this 9-month interim appointment, it is possible that my role with the City of Atchison could substantially change. Perhaps it’s a reduced role in which I’m more narrowly focused on capital projects and economic development efforts. Perhaps it’s a contractual employment arrangement in a more defined role. There’s always the possibility that at some point the conflicts between my private ventures and serving the public in an administrative role become too great, at which time I will do what is necessary and step away completely.
For now, I will do my best to keep this City going in a positive direction. Through intentional efforts at all levels of the organization, we have positive momentum on many fronts – downtown revitalization, economic development, housing, code enforcement, infrastructure, public safety, etc. This momentum comes from numerous years of consistent focus and supportive leadership from previous City Managers and City Commissioners. It will be my role to ensure that momentum continues as we transition to the next leader of this City and organization.
The search for a permanent City Manager will not begin in earnest until after the upcoming City Commission election. The new Commission that takes office in December deserves the opportunity to choose Atchison’s next City Manager and any newly appointed manager deserves to know the composition of the City Commission they’ll be working for in the years ahead.
What will not change is that the City of Atchison has a great team of talented and dedicated employees in place and I’m grateful to continue serving the citizens of Atchison alongside them.
-Justin Pregont, Interim City Manager