The search for the open position of Colfax city administrator is over.
During a Colfax City Council meeting Monday night, council members hired Wade Wagoner for the position. Wagoner, the former city manager for the northwest Iowa town Lake Park, will begin his new position Jan. 28.
Council members unanimously approved three parts of the city administrator position as a part of new business. Those included authorizing the mayor to sign employment officer to preferred city administrator candidate, a resolution approving the appointment of selected city administrator candidate and setting salary and a resolution approving an employment agreement for the city administrator.
Wagoner said he was looking forward to his new position with the City of Colfax.
“I didn’t know there were 11 people who applied, but to be selected is obviously very flattering,” Wagoner said. “The community’s got a tremendous amount of potential. Just (being close to) Interstate 80 and its close proximity to Des Moines. The quality of life here is really high.”
Wagoner, who grew up in Parkersburg, a town in northeast Iowa about the same size as Colfax, until he graduated from high school in 1989. From there, he received his bachelor’s degree in geography at Northwest Missouri State University and then completed his master’s degree in urban planning at Missouri State University.
Wagoner said he has studied and worked a lot with urban planning, while spending the majority of his career as a city manager at Lake Park.
“Most city managers are responsible for the budget. That’s probably their biggest concern,” Wagoner said. “So I will be working with the clerk on the budget.”
Wagoner’s new position as city administrator has some differences from a city manager position many city employees may be used to. One of those differences, according to Colfax City Clerk Nancy Earls, is the ability to hire and dismiss employees, which the City of Colfax is responsible for since it employs a city administrator instead of a city manager.
“The city council still retains that,” Earls said. “The city manager has a little more power.”
David Mast, mayor of Colfax, said he is looking forward to seeing what Wagoner will contribute to the city.
“We had 11 candidates and he ended up number one,” Mast said. “We’re expecting a very good job from him. From the interviews and his past history, we think he’s the man to make Colfax move forward.”
After looking at the applications from each candidate, the council decided to interview the two final candidates, one of which was Wagoner. After that was completed Mast said Wagoner seemed like the best fit considering the expectation for Colfax to be increasing in housing and economic growth.
“He had more experience that was specifically what we were looking for, for the economic development side of things,” Mast said.
At this point, while he knows economic development and budget will be some of his primary responsibilities, Wagoner will need to observe things in Colfax before he has a clear plan on how he wants to approach his new job.
“Sometimes, when you walk into a room, you like to spin a little bit in the room before you decide where you’re going to hang the pictures,” Wagoner said. “I think, anytime you get into a position like this, you need to look at the three Ls: listen, learn and lead. The first two come before the last one.”
Contact Orrin Shawl at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or at firstname.lastname@example.org