A fixture of civic life in Shawnee will be departing city hall next month.
Shawnee City Manager Carol Gonzales on Monday submitted a letter of resignation to Mayor Michelle Distler, announcing that she had accepted a position as the director of finance and administration for the Mid-America Regional Council.
Gonzales has been on the Shawnee city staff since 1998, and was named city manager in 2005. In an email to city employees today, she said the decision to leave was a difficult one.
“It was with mixed emotions that I informed Mayor Distler last night of my decision,” Gonzales said. “I am so proud of the people in this organization and all we have accomplished. I know the city will continue to grow and prosper, and citizens will continue to enjoy a high level of service from the talented professionals working at the City. At the same time, I am excited and honored to continue my public service career at MARC, an outstanding organization with significant regional impact.”
Distler credited Gonzales with steady leadership during a time of rapid growth and change in the city. Among the initiatives the city undertook on her watch were massive overhauls of the city’s aging roads and stormwater systems.
“Carol gave her heart to Shawnee, raised her family here and we’ve been fortunate to have her as our city manager for the past 12 years,” Distler said. “We wish her well in this next phase of her public service career.”
Gonzales received her undergraduate degree from Drake University and her MPA from KU. She was named Shawnee Citizen of the Year by the Shawnee Chamber in 2010, and is currently chair of the Johnson County Civil Service Board and vice-chair of the board of the Growing Futures Early Education Center.
The governing body will discuss a process for tapping Gonzales’s successor in the coming weeks.
Gonzales sent the following message to city staff today:
It is one of the most difficult things that I have ever done, to tell you that I have submitted my resignation to Mayor Distler this evening. I have accepted a leadership position at the Mid-America Regional Council and am excited to continue my public service career with that outstanding organization.
That said, it is extremely difficult for me to leave. I was asked on a panel just a few years ago, what I was most proud of in my entire 30+ year career. My answer was, the organization that I have the honor of leading. It is so true. It has been my honor to work side by side with each of you, providing conscientious, professional and caring service to this community. We do good government, because each of you make the right decisions for the right reasons every single day. It isn’t easy work, and you consistently do it with professionalism and compassion. I couldn’t be more proud.
We have accomplished so much. I have no doubts that you will continue to accomplish great things in the future – because I know exactly what you are capable of……and it is amazing.
The Mayor will be working with the City Council to appoint an interim City Manager, and they will be developing the next steps for filling the City Manager position. I know that Vicki will keep you informed on that process.
My last day will be November 15th. I will be getting things organized for my departure over the next few weeks, and will make my way around to thank you.