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New city administrator for Holts Summit chosen

New city administrator for Holts Summit chosen

April 17th, 2018 by Seth Wolfmeyer in Local News

Rick Hess

Holts Summit has picked Matt Harline as its next city administrator, according to a Monday news release.

Harline is currently working as city administrator in Centralia, a role he started in 2014.

Before Centralia, he worked as Fulton's assistant director of administration for seven years.

He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 1987 with a bachelor's degree in biology and later earned a master's of public administration from the University of Missouri in 2000.

Harline said when Holts Summit first asked him to apply, he declined because he was happy in Centralia, but the chance to work with a growing city next to Jefferson City was exciting so he changed his mind.

"To have the chance to work in the, you know, the shadow of the capital in a city like Holts Summit that has so much going on with development it seems like a good move for me," he said.

His time in Centralia is not over, Harline added, because he'll stay until he takes over at Holts Summit. He said while he's been at Centralia, the city has passed a sewer bond issue to upgrade infrastructure, applied for a grant to help demolish unsafe commercial buildings and is almost finished with a comprehensive plan involving the regional planning commission.

Harline said the upcoming sewer project and developing the city's website are important goals for him. The importance of using social media to communicate with residents was also stressed to him by the hiring board, he added, planning to continue the efforts Holts Summit has already made.

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"Hopefully it can be a dialogue and we can have good civic engagement," Harline said. "Trust me — Centralia, Holts Summit, Fulton — this is not big government, this is small government, and we're trying to serve the people. That's why I love working in local government.

"Doesn't mean we do things people don't understand because of regulation, and we occasionally do things wrong. But if we can keep a good civic dialogue, then we can continue to provide excellent services."

Harline will take over for current City Administrator Rick Hess, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Hess took the position in July 2016 after being city administrator in Battlefield for eight years. Hess said he is proud of improving communication between Holts Summit and its residents.

"My wife is almost 10 years older than I am, and she'd like to travel while she still can travel and enjoy herself," Hess said after announcing his plans to retire. "I reach Social Security age here in seven weeks. So I figured now's a good time."

Harline could start as early as May 22, and Hess will work until May 25, according to the news release.

"The City of Holts Summit is excited that Matt Harline has accepted the position of city administrator," Mayor Landon Oxley said in the news release. "The board, the staff, and myself are excited to work with Matt and to continue to make Holts Summit a great place to call home."