New St. Joseph City Manager ready to get to work, listening to community

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St. Joseph City Manager Gary Edwards speaks with Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline/Photo by Brent Martin

By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

New St. Joseph City Manager Gary Edwards says he is talking
with the mayor, city councilmembers, and community leaders as he refines his
goals for the position.

Edwards took over as city manager on the 9th.

Edwards has experience in running a city. It came after he
worked for three separate members of Congress, including a stint as the late
Congressman Ike Skelton’s Chief of Staff.

Still, he says he prefers city work over work in Congress.

“I’ve noticed that you get things done at the local level that
you can’t – I’ve been at the other levels – you can’t do that to that degree
that you can get things done at the local level,” Edwards tells host Barry Birr
on the KFEQ Hotline. “That makes it fun. And that’s what has been an attraction,
for me anyway, to local government. I love local government and working with
local government.”

Edwards comes to St. Joseph after serving as city manager of
Aransas Pass, Texas where he helped the Gulf Coast community recover from
Hurricane Harvey.

Edwards says, though difficult, it was one of the best
experiences of his life.

“We got to rebuild a city and had the experience of rebuilding
a city, quite literally,” according to Edwards. “We had access to millions of
dollars in grant dollars. You have to apply for them and you have to do a
decent job of applying for them and showing how it was hurricane related. But,
had access to millions of dollars to rebuild this important city on the Gulf
Coast.”

Edwards says he led a city team working with state and federal
officials to put the city back together.

“My goal there was to help the community, of course it was a
joint effort with the citizens and mayor and council and staff, to make the city,
working with everyone, stronger after the hurricane than even before the
hurricane and we succeeded.”

Edwards says his top priorities in St. Joseph so far are
reviewing a recent audit of city books, studying how the coronavirus pandemic
impacted the city budget, and mapping out the future of Interstate 229.