Kathy Axelson will become the new city administrator for Fairway. The Fairway City Council this morning unanimously approved her hiring. She replaces Kate Gunja, who took the assistant city administrator’s job in Prairie Village last November.
Axelson is currently the city administrator in Rose Hill, Kansas, near Wichita. Rose Hill has a population of approximately 4,000, nearly identical to Fairway. Rose Hill also combines the city administrator and city clerk responsibilities, a system to which Fairway has recently moved.
Fairway Mayor Jerry Wiley said the city received 37 applications for the position, which were cut down before several phone interviews were held. Five applicants were brought in for personal interviews. Department directors met with the final two candidates as part of the selection process.
Axelson has been with the city of Rose Hill since 1998 and in the Wichita area for 19 years. Besides her current position, she has served as city clerk, deputy clerk, and director of finance. She is a 1973 graduate of Plainville, KS, High School and of San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico. She holds a mini MPA from Wichita State.
Axelson grew up in Natoma, KS, where her mother was mayor for 17 years. The move to Fairway, though, brings her closer to family. She has two daughters in the metro and two grandchildren. Her daughter Andrea Hottovy and husband, Tommy, live in north Kansas City. He is a professional baseball player who was once with the Royals organization (signed by the Cubs this winter). The other daughter, Dana Shultz and husband John, live in the Westport area and have a food blog with a national following. She has other extended family in the Kansas City area.
“I am very excited to join the staff at the City of Fairway and can’t say enough about how impressed I am with the mayor, council members and staff I have met so far,” she related by email. She will begin her new job March 17 with a starting salary of $78,000.