FAYETTEVILLE WELCOMED a new individual who is seeking to bring positive changes to the city: new City Administrator Kevin Owens.
Mayor Michael Whisenant said the position of city admin- istrator became available when the previous city administrator’s contract had about a year left, in the summer of 2021. The Fay- etteville Board of Mayor and Alderman decided they wanted to go in a different direction, so they severed the remainder of the contract and began the process of hiring a new city administrator in August 2021.
The opening for city administrator was advertised for 40- 45 days. The Municipal Technical Advisory Service helped conduct a national search for someone to fill the position, and Owens became one of five other candidates. After conducting interviews, the mayor and his board decided that Owens was the best person for the job. The city administrator was also highly recommended by his references and other sources the interview team found through the procedure. Owens began his work in Fayetteville in mid-March.
Owens brought a lifetime of experience with him into Fay- etteville. He was raised in Birmingham, Alabama. In college, he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance, which led to about 22 years in municipal government administration, Owens said. He worked in the mayor’s office alongside four different mayors, and he also dealt with financing, animal control, municipal grant pro- grams, and transportation issues. His position evolved during his time in Birmingham, as he started as an administrative analyst and later became the chief administrative officer.
Whisenant said the plan is for Owens to help look after Fay- etteville’s budgetary needs. Owens will help overlook the day-to- day operations of the city and search for resources that can help develop Fayetteville. He will also need to help hire Fayetteville’s next police chief, early in his tenure.
A six-month trial period was agreed upon for Owens. If everything goes well, the board will gather again to formulate a new contract for him.
Owens said his main goals right now are to meet the Fayetteville community, get familiar with his colleagues, and do an analysis of the Fayetteville government’s current state.
“What makes me so excited is that I’m dealing with a bunch of employees, as well as a board and the community, that are very excited about doing things,” Owens said. “When I came through to an interview, the vibe was very positive.”Whisenant said he is excited to work with Owens.
“We’re excited to have Mr. Owens here and hope he’s here for a long periodof time,” Whisenant said. “We just wish him the best of luck as he transitions into his role with us, the city, and working with the county and state officials.”
Owens said he likes the small com- munity aspect of Fayetteville, as it has the conveniences of larger cities without some of the problems of a large city.
“I’m hoping that under my tenure that we’ll come out of my time here as a unified community,” Owens said. “I’m hopeful that we can bring some resolve to some of the projects we have had out here, outstanding for a while. I just hope you follow me as I look to do some things here in this community, and be honest with me about where you see the success- es and some of the things that I can im- prove on.” -GN