Lee’s Summit City Manager Steve Arbo is a finalist for leading city administration in the capital of Iowa.
Arbo said, in an interview, that he is one of four finalists for the city manager position for Des Moines.
Arbo said that for two years a head-hunting firm has been presenting him with opportunities in other cities.
Des Moines is the only city that had appealed to him, he said, because it allows him to grow in leadership and has same qualities that make Lee’s Summit a good place to work and live.
“It’s a larger community, it has a large downtown business environment, it also has a lot of the values and things I enjoy about Lee’s Summit,” Arbo said. “It has friendly residents, a great downtown and wonderful neighborhoods ... If it doesn’t work out, I’ll still be happy and dedicated to staying here and continuing my work.”
Des Moines’s population is roughly twice Lee’s Summit’s at more than 200,000. It is home to several universities as well.
The Des Moines Register on July 3 published a list of candidates the city released as possible replacements for its City Manager Rick Clark, who retired in May.
They are: Stanley Earley a deputy city manager of Dayton, Ohio; Jane Shang, deputy city manager of El Paso, Texas; and Sean Stegall, city manager of Elgin Ill. The finalists are to be interviewed by council members, city department heads and community leaders next July 8-9.
Arbo said if he gets the Des Moines job, he won’t be immediately leaving. He said cities understand there is a need for personal and professional transitions.
“There will be enough time to address immediate issues that need to be resolved,” Arbo said.
Arbo has served as Lee’s Summit’s city manager since 2008 and as deputy and an assistant city manager since 2001. He was named Outstanding Public Administrator in 2011 by the Kansas City Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration.
Mayor Randy Rhoads said he was notified by a morning email July 3 that Arbo was seeking the Des Moines job.
“I’m sorry to see it, but I’m not surprised, city managers move around. I understand people trying to improve their lives ... ” Rhoads said. “I would be disappointed (to lose him) because he’s a good city manager.”