Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Joe Gaa Takes the Helm as Chariton City Manager

Chariton Leader, March 11, 2014
Kris Patrick, Staff Writer

Jo Gaa, hit the ground running as Chariton's new city manager March 3rd just as the Budget proposal for next fiscal year was being finalized ad city council.
Gaa comes to Chariton from Woodbine, Iowa, another Main Street community.  Gaa was city administrator in the town of 1,459 from December 2010 until last month overseeing a total of 12 full-time employees and 20 part-time/seasonal employees  "I am ready for a larger community," said Gaa.  "I was very comfortable in Woodbine, but was looking to move to a community between 3,000 and 7,000 people."
Gaa was born and raised in Maryville, Missouri.  His dad, Tom, is the retired Grounds Maintenance Supervisor for Northwest Missouri State University.
Gaa earned a bachelor's degree in Public Administration and a master's degree in Recreation Administration from Northwest Missouri State University.
From 2005 through 2008, he was a teaching assistant in the recreation program at the University of Arkansas.  Gaa was teaching and working on his doctorate in recreation administration when he realized as much as he loved teaching, his passion was being "in the field" and he needed to "get back to work."
Gaa took a job, as the Sebastian County, Arkansas Parks Administrator from 2008 until 2010.  The system operated three parks with 1,800 acres.  The largest park had been a previous military base.  The park system had operated for five years without an administrator prior to his being hired.  Gaa credits the Sebastian County administrator as his mentor.  "That was the first job that reconnected me to what I love to do."
" I hope things happen here," said Gaa.  "The beautiful thing about downtown is you can take an eyesore and turn it into high demand housing (as done with the Hotel Charitone)."
Gaa succeeds Corey Goodenow, who had taken a job in Pella as City Chief Financial officer.  Gaa was the unanimous pick by the city council with council members saying they liked his experience in general and in particular his commitment to rural communities and his work with Main Street.
Gaa will spend his first week getting to know the community.  As the professional manager of the city's daily operation, the city manager carries out the policies that are made by the mayor and council and directs and coordinates the work of all city departments.  The primary responsibility of the city manager is to implement the policies of the elected city council.  In addition, Gaa assumes responsibility for preparing the annual budget, hiring and firing personnel, directing day-to-day operations, recommending policies or programs to the city council and the financial and other conditions of the city.
"We're excited for Joe to be here and help continue our momentum," said Bisgard.  He will make Chariton stronger financially and as a whole community."

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