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City of Columbia now has four six-figure city manager positions


The City of Columbia's second assistant manager began his new role on Monday after the City approved the position in the fiscal 2024 budget.

Last month, the City named Matt Unrein to the position. He marks Columbia's fourth city manager leadership position with a six-figure salary.

De'Carlon SeewoodCity Manager$227,260.80
Mike GriggsDeputy City Manager$171,891.20
Carol RhodesAssistant City Manager$153,212.80
Matt UnreinAssistant City Manager$150,000.00

The city manager's budget increased $1.6 million in fiscal 2024. This is because of the addition of many positions, including that of the second assistant city manager. The budget also includes the addition of five other new positions and the project management office into the city manager department.

City of Columbia Spokesperson Sydney Olsen said Columbia has a council-manager form of government, which means the City Manager is in charge of the day-to-day functions of the City.

"We have a full-service city," Olsen said. "We are continuing to grow. We will soon have, I believe, 20 departments, so we're seeing more demand than we were previously."

The Missouri Municipal League said a full-service city means it's complex and houses departments such as utilities, police and fire. MML's director of administration and policy Stuart Haynes said more managers are needed in a city with around 1,500 employees and a half-billion-dollar budget.

"You have all these different tasks that they're trying to accomplish, and then throw in the size of the organization," Haynes said. "I think having just one administrator trying to make sure that everything's going smoothly at some point becomes too much, and they need to bring in an assistant or a deputy."

The overall job of the city manager's office is to carry out the priorities of the city council, set the budget and keep things on track, according to Haynes.

Olsen said Unrein will be over the City's public safety departments, including health, police, fire and the new community violence department. Previously, these departments reported directly to City Manager De'Carlon Seewood.

Assistant City Manager Carol Rhodes oversees the City's internal support services such as the Office of Cultural Affairs and the contact center.

Deputy City Manager Mike Griggs oversees more demanding departments including Public Works, Utilities, Parks and Recreation and the Office of Sustainability.

Seewood is at the top of the office, but still under the guidance of the Columbia City Council and Mayor Barbara Buffaloe.

Olsen said these different city manager positions allow for the office to provide more guidance and serve as a contact point for department heads.

"Having those multiple positions and letting them focus on sort of a priority area allows for efficiencies," Olsen said. "It allows them to provide strategic guidance and leadership and it allows the departments to have a touchpoint to come to for advice."

A 2023 City of Columbia organization chart shows the hierarchy of the City' Manager office's government. This chart is not yet updated to include the City's second assistant city manager position.

Columbia Deputy City Manager Mike Griggs announced his retirement earlier this month after 37 years at the City of Columbia. His last day will be April 12.

City spokesperson Sydney Olsen said in an email City Manager De'Carlon Seewood will appoint an interim deputy city manager until the position can be filled permanently.

She said a formal search process has not yet started to permanently fill the position, but it will include a nationwide search.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Morgan Buresh

Morgan is an evening anchor and reporter who came to ABC 17 News in April 2023.


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