Matthes Won Over Council with Intellectualism
COLUMBIA - The man of the hour, Columbia's next city manager Mike Matthes, actually wasn't at Columbia city hall at the hour of the big announcement.
Mayor Bob McDavid said Matthes was on his way back to his old job in Des Moines, Iowa, as council members weighed their choices to fill the vacant city manager position. City leaders who spoke at the event seemed to agree Matthes was first among equals throughout the interview process, winning points with council members for his demeanor.
"He's an intellectual," McDavid said after the press conference, saying if Matthes changes a lot of things up in city government, one might hardly notice it because of his methodical work ethic.
Sixth ward councilwoman Barbara Hoppe agreed, saying Matthes would "take time to analyze an issue."
Matthes has been involved in Des Moines city government since 1998, leading the housing authority for two years. Most recently, Matthes added the title of Chief Information Officer to his name in 2007, in addition to the Assistant City Manager role he has held since 2001.
Candidates took part in an interview process over the weekend. McDavid said he was interested in asking candidates about their biggest professional mistakes to gauge their personalities.
Council members spoke positively about their experience with search firm Affion Public, which recommended a slate of four candidates to the city on March 11 - Matthes; Port Angeles, Wash., city manager Kent Myers; Waukesha, Wis., city administrator Lori Curtis-Luther; and Abilene, Tex., assistant city manager David Vela.
Second ward councilman Gary Kespohl and McDavid said that the best applications for the post came from "passive applicants," meaning candidates who did not seek out the Columbia job, but whom the search firm recommended to the city.
Matthes officially takes over as city manager May 1, replacing Bill Watkins. He will make more than $154,000 per year with benefits, the same salary as Watkins.