by PJ Rooks and Ivan Foley
Jason Metten will step away from his post as city administrator in Platte City next month.
Metten presented the mayor and board of aldermen with a letter of resignation on Tuesday night. His last day will be Aug. 31, which will coincide with the final day of his three-year contract with the city.
Metten said he will search for a job in the private sector.
“I’ve done this for a long time. It’s 12 years now in the public sector between four cities and I just feel like it’s time to try something new,” he told The Landmark.
“I’m certainly not unhappy in Platte City, but you know there are times when you just get this feeling that it’s time to move on and I’ve sort of come to that. I’m going to try to move forward in something that’s a little less in the spotlight but hopefully where I can do the same amount of good, I suppose,” he added.
“I take this position very, very seriously and I’ve always had a lot of concern being a steward of public trust and public funds. I think the way that I carry that, it does weigh on a person and I think after 12 years it’s just time to do something else.”
Metten said he has worked hard to create positive change for the city.
“Being a steward of public trust, you do all that you can to create positive change within the community but the responsibility and the scrutiny tend to weigh heavy,” he explained.
He said it’s an emotional time.
“I know it’s the right decision but I will remember my time here and the people here very fondly and I’ll still be around, and I’ll still be hopefully active in the community. But it’s a big step for me and a big change, and with change comes the unknown and with the unknown comes a little bit of difficulty,” he stated.
Frank Offutt, mayor, said the process of finding Metten’s replacement will begin immediately.
“We have a lot of exciting projects coming up and the new city administrator will play a pivotal role. Jason will be around to answer questions and to help make the transition as smooth as possible,” Offutt said.
Metten was hired by a unanimous vote of the aldermen in the summer of 2008 and took over on Sept. 1 of that year. He has overseen large infrastructure projects to improve streets and utilities. City officials say Capital Improvement Projects in 2008 through 2010, as well as the Platte River bank stabilization project, have all been completed on time and significantly under budget.
Metten has also been credited with improving the communication and public relations efforts of the city.
The 2010 Direction Finder Survey indicated that the overall level of satisfaction in the effectiveness of city communication with the public showed a significant increase from the 2008 survey results (65% in 2010 vs. 58% in 2008).
Offutt said Metten’s knowledge of municipal finance “kept us on track and his communication skills are unparalleled in the industry. I could always count on him to present information in an extremely clear and concise manner. I am sure he’ll find the best fit to advance his career very quickly.”
Tony Paolillo, president of the board of aldermen, said: “I was surprised when Jason turned in his notice. The relationship between the board and city administrator is very strong. Platte City’s financial position is solid and almost all major projects have met or exceeded expectations.”
The mayor and aldermen will likely use Metten’s final month to make initial decisions and assemble a timeline to locate his replacement.
“Platte City currently has some of most experienced and effective department heads we’ve ever had,” Offutt said. “I am confident that everything will run smoothly until the selection process has been completed and the new administrator takes over.”