During a special Independence City Commission meeting Wednesday evening, City Manager Kelly Passauer announced the appointment of long-time City leader David Cowan as Assistant City Manager.
Prior to this promotion, Cowan served as the City’s Director of Safety and Code Enforcement. In his new role, Passauer explained, Cowan, who is now in his 34th year of service, will oversee the operations of Fire/EMS, Park & Zoo, Public Works, Utilities, the Building Department, Code Enforcement and Memorial Hall - some of which have already been under his supervision for several years.
“David is a hard worker, is passionate about the City and has excellent customer-service and problem-solving skills. I am excited to see David in his new role,” Passauer said.
Passauer explained that Cowan’s appointment is the first step in a broader reorganization plan requested by the City Commissioners to mirror that of many corporate structures with a CEO (City Manager) dealing with executive level planning and outreach to external entities, and a COO (Assistant City Manager) who would deal with daily operational duties. This approach will allow the City Manager to focus on a regional directive set by the City Commission while ensuring the required administrative support for continuing operations occurs and the overall workload is managed efficiently, Passauer said.
"Although some department directors will report directly to David for daily routine operations, we will still maintain communications, including weekly meetings led by me with all of our department directors to ensure we are moving forward on City projects and initiatives," Passauer said.
Passauer said a key element of the City's organizational structure already in place is the Administration Team, which in addition to Passauer, consists of Cowan, Police Chief Jerry Harrison and Finance Director Lacey Lies. This team will continue to work together on higher level administrative projects and recommendations. With the reorganization, the members of the Administration Team will continue to report directly to Passauer, while the other department directors will now report directly to Cowan.
In other personnel changes, Administrative Aide Lydia Collins, a City employee for more than 25 years, has transferred from the Finance Department to Administration, where she will provide clerical support for Passauer.
Additional restructuring is planned in the coming months as some department directors retire, Passauer said
“I am excited about this reorganization, and I look forward to working with the Commission, the City Administrative Team, the department directors and others on current and future projects. I am appreciative of the great people I have the pleasure of working with to see these initiatives through.”