Local News

February 8, 2011

Chickasha hires new manager


Stewart C. Fairburn of Gardner, Kans., will start work April 1 as Chickasha's new city manager.

He will replace Larry Shelton, who is retiring. Shelton has served 19 years as Chickasha city manager.

Fairburn's appointment was announced during Monday's city council meeting. He is presently city administrator at Gardner, a city of more than 17,000 southwest of Kansas City. Fairburn, who has been at Gardner 10 years, has more than 30 years experience in municipal service, according to Mayor Hank Ross.

Ross noted that Fairburn and his wife, Ann, are excited at the opportunity to become part of the Chickasha community and the new city manager looks forward to using his experience to assist the city council in achieving its vision for Chickasha.

During Fairburn's tenure, Gardner's population exploded from less than 10,000 to nearly 18,000. The city is located in Kansas' wealthiest county.

In December, Fairburn was honored for a decade of service to the city of Gardner.

"When you're working with government, you're always looking to make things better," he said then. "… in a large city you have bigger bureaucracy so it's harder to make change. In small cities, you know everybody. So here you do more, you wear more hats and that's been kind of exciting. It's a great job to be in."

Ross said Fairburn began his public sector career with the City of Oklahoma City and later worked as budget officer for the City of Aurora, Colo. He was also assistant city administrator for Grandview, Mo., and before moving to Gardner was the first city manager of Lake Dallas, Texas.

He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Colorado and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma.

The mayor said Fairburn successfully managed issues associated with rapid growth in the Gardner community, supervising completion of a variety of capital improvement projects. The list includes a new city hall, water and wastewater treatment plants, fire stations, an aquatic center, 60-acre park with athletic facilities, and other infrastructure projects.

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