Vicki Charlesworth takes over as interim city manager in Shawnee

By Jerry LaMartina

Vicki Charlesworth starts her job today as the city of Shawnee’s interim city manager.

Vicki Charlesworth
Vicki Charlesworth

Charlesworth joined the city’s staff as a personnel technician in November 1988. She was promoted to personnel analyst in 1993, deputy city clerk in 1994, city clerk in 2001, assistant city manager in 2006 and deputy city manager in 2012.

Her appointment as interim city manager by the Shawnee City Council on Nov. 6 followed the announced departure of City Manager Carol Gonzales, who submitted her resignation letter to Mayor Michelle Distler on Oct. 9, saying she had accepted a job as director of finance and administration for the Mid-America Regional Council. Gonzales’ final day as city manager was Wednesday. She had been on the city’s staff since 1998 and was named as city manager in 2005. The city held a reception for Gonzales at City Hall Wednesday afternoon.

Charlesworth said she wanted the interim city manager job “because I wanted to provide a little bit of consistency for our organization.”

“I’ve been a deputy city manager for Carol and shared the same philosophies about management and organization,” she said.

Her priority list in her new job includes helping the council with its process of choosing the next city manager and continuing the council’s policies, she said. She doesn’t want to become Shawnee’s city manager.

“I’m in the sunset of my career,” she said. “I had actually planned to retire late next year. I want to do what’s best for the organization. That is still my plan right now, but if the new city manager wants me to stay on, I might stay on.

“I’ve had good bosses over the years who have let me do different things, plus I had a great mentor in Carol,” she said.

As of Nov. 28, Charlesworth will have worked 29 years for the city. She is 54. Her salary as interim city manager is about $137,400, the same as when she was deputy city manager.

The city government’s main strength “is the people who work here,” she said.

“We have great employees who care about the community,” she said. “They’re very well trained and very competent in their fields.”

Charlesworth was born in Kansas City, Kan., and grew up in Merriam. She graduated from Shawnee Mission North High School.

She received a dual bachelor’s degree in personnel administration and communication studies from the University of Kansas in 1987. She graduated from KU’s Edwin O. Stene Graduate School of Public Administration in 2006.

She is married to Jim Charlesworth. They have a son, Will, who is studying engineering at a college in England, and a daughter, Freddie, who also is studying engineering, at Clemson University.