Thursday, March 6, 2014

Eureka Selects Iowa Man as Next City Manager

Posted By on Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 1:03 PM

click to enlarge Greg Sparks. - COURTESY CITY OF EUREKA
  • Courtesy City of Eureka
  • Greg Sparks.
Eureka, meet your new boss: West Des Moines, Iowa, City Manager Greg Sparks has accepted the Eureka city manager position and is scheduled to start May 1, after a background check is completed.

Sparks hit the two key Eureka talking points in a city press release issued today: economy and scenery.

"The area has great natural assets and a strong retail base," he said. "I was impressed with the team of dedicated department managers and I look forward to working with them to achieve the council’s goals of excellent customer service. I look forward to arriving soon and getting to know people in the community and to be an active participant in Eureka.” 

West Des Moines, in case you're into comparisons, has a population of nearly 60,000 and is the 10th largest city in Iowa. According to Wikipedia, it is one of Iowa's wealthiest cities and "Des Moines' richest suburb." West Des Moines also made Money magazine's 2008 list of the "100 Best Places to Live and Launch." Eureka, you'll recall, is a primo spot for swingin' seniors.

Sparks has held management positions around the U.S., according to the release, and has three kids living in California.

The press release:

The Mayor and Council are pleased to announce that Greg Sparks of West Des Moines, Iowa has accepted the position of City Manager with the City of Eureka. Greg comes to the City of Eureka with a great deal of experience and knowledge as a City Manager. Mr. Sparks is currently employed by the City of West Des Moines as their City Manager and oversees a staff of 415 employees and an annual budget of 113M.

Previous experience: Greg served as the Town Manager of Mountain Village, Colorado. Mountain Village is a resort community adjacent to Telluride, in southwest Colorado. He managed a staff of 146 employees that offered a variety of traditional and non-traditional services to meet the needs of full and part-time residents, as well as a diverse visitor base. Prior to Mountain Village, Greg served as City Administrator in Owatonna, MN from 1995 to 2007, and as City Administrator of Worthington, MN, from 1988 to 1995. Greg began his city management career as an intern in Reno, Nevada in 1978, and has worked in management positions in Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, and Minnesota.

Greg Sparks received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Northern Iowa and earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Nevada. Additionally, Greg has completed the Rocky Mountain Executive Leadership Program from the University of Colorado.

Greg and his wife Mary, a nurse, have a son Aaron and daughter in law, Emily residing in Goleta, CA. Aaron is a full-time doctoral student at the University of California Santa Barbara, and Emily is employed by UCSB.

In a statement to the City, Greg stated, “I am really looking forward to joining the team at the City of Eureka. I was drawn to Eureka for a number of reasons. The Mayor and City Council have a vision of improving the economic sustainability of Eureka that fit well with my background in creating collaborative partnerships with other public agencies and the private sector. The area has great natural assets and a strong retail base. I was impressed with the team of dedicated department managers and I look forward to working with them to achieve the Council’s goals of excellent customer service. I look forward to arriving soon and getting to know people in the community and to be an active participant in Eureka.”

“I am very excited to have such an experienced Manager on board with the City of Eureka”, commented Mayor Frank Jager. The City of Eureka will be conducting a background check over the next few weeks. Once the background check is completed, an employment agreement with Greg Sparks will be agendized for Council approval. Mr. Sparks has a tentative start date with the City of Eureka, of May 1, 2014. 

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Grant Scott-Goforth

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Grant Scott-Goforth has been an assistant editor and staff writer for The Journal since 2013.

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