New city manager comes from Missouri
A desire to move to the Texas coast as well as to be near family influenced Gary Edwards in applying for the post of Aransas Pass City Manager. His resume and 20-plus years of experience in city government were a determining factor for the Aransas Pass City Council members who approved hiring Edwards with a starting date of Sept. 28.
Edwards was in attendance at the council’s regular term meeting Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, when the action was taken and greeted residents and staff members alike. He spoke during comments from the public, and thanked the mayor and council for the opportunity to serve as Aransas Pass city manager.
He said, “This has been an interesting meeting. I mean that in a positive way.” He said it shows the community spirt which is so important for a city. He said based on his experience, a community is not going to go anywhere without that spirit, adding, “I can feel that here.”
He is looking forward to being a part of the great staff here, which includes the mayor and council. Edwards also anticipates he and his wife will be active members of the community.
Edwards comes to the City from Sedalia, MO where has been the Sedalia city administrator since August 2011, celebrating his six-year anniversary with the City of Sedalia last week. He is leaving the city on good terms, explaining the Sedalia Democrat newspaper published a nice story about him leaving. In that story, Sedalia Mayor Stephen Galliher wished Edwards good luck, but also said he is sad to see him leave. Edwards said he believes six years is a “healthy time period” for a city manager.
Edwards was raised n Phoenix, AZ, where his father his from, and his mother is from Missouri. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO; finished legislative studies at the University of Central Missouri (UCM); completed graduate studies in communications & municipal government also at UCM; and earned a Masters of Public Administration, cum laude, from Missouri State University.
Since that time, his career has taken him to different parts of the country, working in state and federal government. He worked for a decade on Capitol Hill in Washington as a chief of staff and communications director in the U.S. House of Representatives. Edwards worked for Congressman Ike Skelton of Missouri as his first chief of staff and communications director; for Bill Hefner (NC) as his communications director; and Larry Smith (FL) as his chief of staff and communications director. He also served as chief of staff for the Missouri lieutenant governor’s office.
For the past 23 years, he has worked in city government, serving as city manager in Branson West, MO; Ste. Genevieve, MO; Festus, MO; Moberly, MO; Wickenburg, AZ; and then Sedalia.
The city official has been to Texas before, and has a daughter who moved to Austin. She is one of the reasons he wanted to move to Texas, she and her husband have his grandchildren. He also has a cousin who lives in the Hill Country and anticipates other family members will be moving to the state as well. A lot of his decision to apply in Aransas Pass and accept the job is about “getting back to family.” Having visited a coastal area in the last two years, combined with family moving to the state, Edwards was looking for “something on the water” and a community of about the size of Aransas Pass.
Edwards also said he wanted a community of challenges, explaining, “I mean that in a positive way.” He believes he can assist with helping make improvements in a community by working with city staff and residents seeking to do the same. He said, “I’m impressed with the positive attitude I see in Aransas Pass,” adding that is a “good prescription for success and for potential economic development.”
After the meeting, Edwards said he enjoyed getting to meet several local residents, and department heads, some whom he met during the interview process. Not starting in Aransas Pass until Sept. 28 allows him time to wrap things up in Missouri before moving to Texas and taking over the city helm at Aransas Pass.