Des Moines passes over Arbo

rpulley@lsjournal.comJuly 15, 2014 

City Manager Steve Arbo probably will stick around Lee’s Summit for a while.

On July 14, the city of Des Moines announced it had made its selection for city manager position, choosing Sean Stegall, the city manager of Elgin, Ill.

But before the city could negotiate a salary with Sean Stegall, he withdrew as a candidate.

That leaves Des Moines officials in a quandary of over its next move, but Arbo confirmed on July 15 he would not be offered the job.

“Many individuals have offered kind words of support and encouragement during the time that I was being considered for this city manager position,” Arbo said in an email to the Journal. “I am pleased to remain here and work with an incredible group of people and community.”

Des Moines, in a news release July 14, hinted the city isn’t going to make an offer to any of the other finalists.

“The city wishes them all the best in their future careers and believes they will each have continued success in their chosen endeavors. ...” the release says. “Because of city staff’s demonstrated commitment to excellence and its outstanding performance record, the council is satisfied that the momentum of the organization will be maintained during the interim period while the search continues.”

According to a story in the Des Moines Register, from interviews with council members, the council hadn’t entirely ruled out again looking at its original pool of applicants or finalists, but might be leaning to offering the job to one of its city staff.

Des Moines’s interim City Manager Larry Hulse would continue to lead the city, according to the Des Moines Register, and Hulse said if the city conducts another national search it would wait four to six months. Neither Hulse nor Assistant City Manager Matt Anderson had applied for the job.

The Register quoted Councilman Chris Coleman as saying he had hoped an internal candidate would emerge:

“Over the last two weeks we had five really good options: We had four good candidates, and we had the status quo. ...” Coleman said. “All things considered, the status quo won out because we have a lot of confidence in our current staff and I feel really good about the next couple of months in the city of Des Moines.”

Arbo has been Lee’s Summit’s city manager since September 2008 and prior to that he served as the interim city manager in 2007, was the deputy city manager for Lee’s Summit from 2001-2007.

Prior to Lee’s Summit, he was Liberty’s city manager.

Lee's Summit Journal is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service