Assistant City Manager Nolan Sunderman just got a promotion. Mayor Michelle Distler and the Shawnee City Council announced Tuesday that Sunderman will be the new city manager.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to help lead this community and will work to keep it a place where people are proud to live and work,” Sunderman said.
The decision came from joint input between the council, city staff and residents, according to the city’s announcement.
“Thank you to everyone who provided input into this process and very important decision,” said Mayor Michelle Distler. “I believe we, as a city, made this decision together. It’s not about thinking alike, but thinking together.”
The search process has been ongoing since longtime city manager Carol Gonzales announced she was leaving last year to take a position with the Mid-America Regional Council. Deputy city manager Vicki Charlesworth had been filling the role on an interim basis since Gonzales’s departure. Charlesworth did not put her name in for consideration for the position as she plans to retire this year after three decades of service to the city. Sunderman was one of four finalists for the position.
Sunderman joined the Shawnee city staff as assistant city manager in June 2016 following a two-year stint as assistant city administrator in Prairie Village. Prior to that, he held administrative positions for the cities of Republic, Mo., and Lansing, Kan.
“Nolan stands out for his friendly, logical, and community-oriented approach to 21st-century city management,” Distler said. “His references and the council’s interactions with him showed him to be hardworking, ethical, even-tempered and a caring leader. He is aware of Shawnee’s vision and values, and recognizes that we have a connected, engaged community with a great city staff.”