The city of Bonne Terre has a new city administrator this week after Interim City Administrator Jim Eaton announced he wished to retire from the position.
Bonne Terre Mayor Brandon Hubbard said they selected Shawn Kay as their new city administrator because they felt he was the right person for the job at this time.
“He has been affiliated with the city for a long time before he became the superintendent of Public Works and he was the best candidate for the job,” Hubbard said. “I think he is the guy to lead the city to the next step.”
Hubbard explained they had accepted applications, conducted interviews and they narrowed it down to two people. He said Kay was in the finals and they did a second interview with another individual as well.
“We decided Shawn was the guy we wanted and I think he will lead the city going forward,” Hubbard said. “He is our guy and I think he is going to lead us well. Monday evening in closed session we discussed the candidates and we called him in once a decision was made to let him know he was selected for the position.”
Hubbard said Eaton will stay around part time to mentor Kay along to make sure there is a good transition.
“(Kay) knows a lot about the city, especially being hands on like he has been. I think it has been very beneficial because he knows every department he has worked in,” Hubbard said. “He has done it himself and has got out there and worked with all the different street departments, water and sewer. He just knows a lot about the city.”
Hubbard said he feels that is beneficial because a lot of city administrators don’t go out and get the hands-on experience like that.
“He has already straightened out the public works department,” Hubbard said. “They never had a boss over there and since he took over, there is structure and he was able to get everything going in the right direction.”
Kay said it was a lengthy interview process.
Kay has been the superintendent of public works for nearly two years now. Before that he was on the city council for six years. He has also sat on the parks and recreation board and has been involved in the Bonne Terre Baseball program since 1994. He has been involved in a lot of other projects, such as city lighting.
“When I found out they were going to hire a city administrator I decided to submit my resume,” Kay said. “I really just want to continue to see the city makes strides and move forward. I have four children and I really would like for them to have a nice place to live and work. If they can have a nice place to live and work here, that would be fantastic.”
Kay said he wants to continue to improve processes they have already set into action and he looks forward to working with the council to blaze a path forward. He stressed he wanted to figure out what the council would like to see and also guide them himself.
“I have been involved with meetings with engineers. MoDOT, the Environmental Protection Agency, USDA, and Missouri Department of Natural Resources,” Kay said. “I have been involved in those meetings and some of the decision-making process. Jim has afforded me the opportunity to speak my mind freely, so I was able to have an opinion of what we had going on.”
Kay said he is excited and it is a big job. He wants the city to be a great place to live with great parks for fun activities.
“We need to make this city grow so we have those things,” Kay said. “It’s not about me though, it’s about the people out here. These are the people who make the city grow. I am just here to help them make decisions and figure out how to make it fit in the budget.”
Kay also added that in accepting the city administrator position, he opted to keep his salary where it was set at for the public works superintendent position because the city is already on tight financial budget.