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High-paid city official retires with no successor

By Corene Brisendine

One of the highest paid employees retired Friday after 40 years working for the city, but city officials said they will not replace him.

Gregg Gibson, the city of Manhattan’s information systems manager, was the “longest continuous employee in city’s history of employment,” said Director of Finance Bernie Hayen.

Hayen asked commissioners to consider hiring two people whose salary would be equivalent to what Gibson was being paid during a budget work session earlier this month. During the June 11 work session, Hayen said if the city hired an information systems support specialist at $38,750 a year and an assistant city attorney at $68,646 a year, the combined salaries of $107,396 would be “budget neutral” because it was equivalent to Gibson’s salary.

At the meeting, Commissioner Wynn Butler said he didn’t think the city attorney had enough of a workload to justify an assistant. Hayen said at the retirement party for Gibson that the city was going to reorganize the information systems staff to cover all the things Gibson had done while working for the city. In addition, the city was looking to hire someone to take care of the 15 servers in various buildings owned by the city like the ones at City Hall and at the water plant. Gibson’s “second in command,” Mark Kewley, will take over as supervisor of the division.

In addition to hiring another information systems specialist, the city will begin interviews to replace Lauren Palmer, who was the city manager’s second assistant at City Hall. Hayen said city staff has several candidates to fill the vacated position.

Gibson started working for the city on June 4, 1973, as the accounting and data processing supervisor. In 1979 he took over as city clerk. Current City Clerk Gary Fees said Gibson “was a mentor for me when I started as a city clerk.” He said Gibson is the epitome of a public servant — “a quiet public servant.”

Gibson was moved to management information officer in 1985. On Friday, Gibson retired from his post as information systems manager, a position he had held since 1998.

Gibson said upon retiring, he plans to travel. His son, who lives in Garden City, is expecting Gibson’s first grandchild in December. He said he also plans to spend time visiting other relatives including his sister in Ohio, his niece in Florida and a nephew in Pennsylvania.

Gibbs may also spend more time on pursuits in his hometown, Olsburg. Mary Lou Gibbs, Olsburg resident, told city staff attending Gibson’s retirement party, “Your loss is our gain.” She said Gibson has been extremely active with the Olsburg City Commission as well as the Olsburg Lutheran Church.

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