(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Monday, St. Joseph's newest city manager started his first day on the job.
Gary Edwards, a fifth generation Missourian who beat out 36 other candidates for the position has 25 years of experience in city management. Edwards said if that quarter of a lifetime taught him anything, it's to get a headstart.
“I know of 20-30 things already- I’ve been here a few hours- of needing my signature already,” said Gary Edwards, St. Joseph City Manager.
Monday may have been Edwards first official day in his new office, overlooking his new city, but his schedule is already booked.
For the next 2-3 weeks, St. Joseph's new city manager is packing in one-on-one meetings with city council members, department heads and community members.
Edwards said to understand the heart of a city and what it needs, you start with the people.
“It would be presumptuous of me to say here are my goals until I find out what the citizens want, what the mayor and council want and what the staff want,” said Edwards.
St. Joseph Mayor, Bill McMurray said he plans to meet with Edwards to discuss his vision.
“We have a long range plan. I wanna run over that with Gary. It uses the framework of the ‘Imagine St. Joseph 2040’ plan: invest in people, create a better place, grow prosperity. Certainly, the downtown area and river front are among those,” said Bill McMurray, St. Joseph Mayor.
Edwards said he's been spending his mornings getting to know St. Joseph on paper. At night, he's familiarizing himself with his new home at the accompany of his best friend, Dutchess.
“Took my golden retriever and walked all in the downtown area and various parts of town to get a sidewalk view of the city and see what issues came to light,” said Edwards.
Edwards has his hands full with the city's budget, flood damage and COVID-19, but he said he is ready.
"Now, I'll make mistakes. Everybody will make mistakes at the outset because I'm new to the process and don't understand the nuances and the details of all the different issues, but I have to learn them quickly. That's another first day issue."
Edwards was the previous city manager for Aransas Pass, Texas before accepting the job in St. Joseph.