Mission City Administrator Gerry Vernon abruptly resigns after 15 months on the job

Mission City Administrator Gerry Vernon speaks about the city budget during an open forum at the community center.
Mission City Administrator Gerry Vernon speaks about the city budget during an open forum at the community center last July.

After serving in the position for just over a year, Mission City Administrator Gerry Vernon has resigned his job, according to an announcement by the city.

“Mayor Steve Schowengerdt has announced that Mission City Administrator Gerry Vernon tendered his resignation effective September 22, 2014, (Monday) to pursue other opportunities,” reads the city’s announcement issued shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday. The “other opportunities” referenced in the release were not identified.

During his report at last week’s city council meeting, Vernon said that he looked forward to sharing with the governing body what he had learned while attending the recent International City/County Managers Association meeting. The meeting concluded with a council executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. Vernon did not join the governing body in that meeting.

Mayor Schowengerdt confirmed Wednesday night that Vernon left his office on Monday. Schowengerdt said he has asked Assistant City Administrator Laura Smith to serve as interim city administrator.  The mayor said under the city’s process, he appoints the new city administrator subject to confirmation by the city council. The selection process has not been set.

Vernon started with the city on June 3, 2013, replacing Mike Scanlon, who left in December 2012 to take a job in Colorado. Vernon had been the city manager in Junction City for three years before coming to Mission. He also had spent 13 years in Smithville, Mo., where he also served as city manager after starting in the public works department. At the time of his hiring, he said he was excited to be returning to the Kansas City metro.

Vernon was hired by former mayor Laura McConwell, who was succeeded by Schowengerdt in April. During Vernon’s tenure, the city parted ways with former police chief John Simmons. Much of the focus has been directed to the Johnson Drive rebuild, the stalled Gateway project and other development issues in the last year.

The city’s announcement said “Vernon thanked the Council for the opportunity to have been part of a vibrant community, particularly during the regeneration of Johnson Drive.”

“The City of Mission is a great organization, and I am sure it will continue to move forward,” Vernon is quoted as saying in the release.

On Wednesday evening, Schowengerdt was complimentary of Vernon’s service to Mission.

“Although I’ve only had the opportunity to work with him since April, he was clearly a dedicated professional, and I wish him success in his future endeavors,” Schowengerd said. The Mayor and Council will begin discussions on the process for filling the City Administrator’s position.