Laura Smith appointed new city administrator in Mission

Laura Smith, who was appointed interim city administrator in Mission less than two weeks ago, has been tapped to take the job permanently.

Laura Smith
Laura Smith

Smith took over as interim when city administrator Gerry Vernon resigned on September 22. During a special council meeting October 1, the council ratified the interim appointment and will be asked to confirm Mayor Steve Schowengerdt’s appointment as permanent administrator at Wednesday’s council meeting.

Schowengerdt called Smith the “perfect choice” for the job. “She knows the city, she knows finance and she knows the people,” the mayor said. “She is very qualified.” Smith came to the city in 2005 under Mike Scanlon, who Schowengerdt called an “excellent” administrator. He said Smith filled in when Scanlon was away for continuing education so she is comfortable with decisions.

Smith has served as finance director and assistant city administrator since joining Mission. The mayor said it wasn’t necessary to do an outside search when the right person was already on hand.

She has an extensive background in city and county government. Before coming to Mission, she was the employee benefits manager for Johnson County and had been assistant city manager in Gladstone. She has served as assistant to the county executive in Jackson County, Mo., and assistant to the city manager in Wichita. She served internships in Liberty and Leavenworth.

Smith has a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in public administration from the University of Kansas. She is a credentialed manager with the International City/County Management Association.

Vernon was only at the helm in Mission for little more than a year. He replaced Scanlon, who resigned in late 2012 to take a job in Colorado. He had been with Mission for 10 years.