Cape picks Scott Meyer to be new city manager

Friday, May 29, 2009
Scott Meyer speaks at a news conference after Mayor Jay Knudtson, right, announced Meyer was chosen to be the new city manager for Cape Girardeau Thursday at the Osage Community Centre. Seated is city councilman John Voss who led the search committee. (Fred Lynch)

Video of the news conference at http://www.livestream.com/seMissourian

After conducting a nationwide search spanning five months, Cape Girardeau city officials named a new city manager Thursday.

Scott Meyer, who has been the director of facilities management at Southeast Missouri State University since 2005, will fill position July 1. Meyer was also the district engineer for the Southeast District of the Missouri Department of Transportation for nine years before working at the university.

Mayor Jay Knudtson said the cost of paying for relocation expenses did not factor into the decision to hire the only local finalist for the job. He said Meyer's local ties gave him an advantage.

"He knows where Sprigg Street is," Knudtson said. "He knows where the new interchange is going to be. There will be no learning curve with him."

In his new position, Meyer will handle almost all city hiring decisions.

During his tenure at Southeast, Meyer was involved with the construction of the River Campus, a parking garage, the aquatic center and a new residence hall. Meyer has worked for the state for 26 years and has no experience at the city level.

Knudtson said Meyer will bring a new style of leadership as well as freshness and excitement to the position.

"His lack of city manager experience in this case is an opportunity," he said.

Meyer said his work with the state and background in civil engineering gave him experience running projects and budgets. The new position will give him more of an opportunity to collaborate with community members on city projects, he said.

"I really like to be where the rubber hits the road," Meyer said. He also said he wanted to build community confidence by being open about his decision making.

The city received 56 applications from candidates in 23 states during the search process, which began in January.

Knudtson said he was initially uncertain the city needed to conduct a nationwide search for the position. He said he stepped aside, allowed the the process to proceed and was surprised by the results.

"It made me proud to see the quality of people who were willing to move their families to Cape Girardeau," he said.

Three of the four finalists were from outside of Cape Girardeau, said Councilman John Voss, who led the search committee. Council members Loretta Schneider and Marcia Ritter also served on the committee, which met once a week. The search was narrowed to 12 semifinalists in late March. After phone interviews, the committee chose four finalists in mid-April, he said.

Voss said the finalists drove to Cape Girardeau to observe city operations and be interviewed by the council. The search cost $10,000, including hosting, traveling and advertising expenses, Voss said.

Meyer's base salary will be $117,000 with an $8,000 performance-based bonus available at the end of his first year, Knudtson said. Meyer's total benefits package will not exceed that of former city manager Doug Leslie, Knudtson said. Before he retired three months ago, Leslie made $124,800 annually. Assistant city manager Ken Eftink will continue to fill in as interim city manager until Meyer starts the job.

abusch@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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