Magazine article Public Management

Ryan Heiar, Loving His Job in Eagle Grove, Follows in Father's Footsteps in City Position

Magazine article Public Management

Ryan Heiar, Loving His Job in Eagle Grove, Follows in Father's Footsteps in City Position

Article excerpt

For Ryan Heiar--Eagle Grove, Iowa's city manager--every day of work is different. But he didn't always want the job.

Growing up the son of Manchester, Iowa's city manager, he knew about the long hours away from home and the sometimes-angry phone calls his father received. "I always said there was no way I was ever going to be a city manager," said Heiar.

A public administration class Heiar took in college at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, changed his mind. "I started to get interested in it," he said. "I sat down and visited about it with my dad and decided that's what I wanted to do."

Straight out of college, he was hired to be city manager of Elkader, an eastern Iowa town of 1,500 people. There, he learned what the job was all about. But he and his wife, Stephanie, wanted to move closer to her family in Pocahontas. Eagle Grove was the answer.

Since accepting the Eagle Grove city administrator job four years ago, Heiar observed, he's been welcomed into the community with open arms. "Eagle Grove is a unique town, a special town," he said.

So what does a city administrator do? "The last three months have really been dedicated to the aquatic center," said Heiar. "I also work with the public and the city staff to address their concerns."

Heiar said he and other city officials recently finished the yearly budget process, which can be a difficult balancing act. "Right now is some of the toughest times for us," he commented. "With the rollback, we have less coming in, but our expenses are increasing. …

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