Sedalia Police Chief John DeGonia has been selected to serve as acting city administrator as the City Council considers further action against suspended City Administrator Frank Myers.
Mayor Elaine Horn nominated DeGonia for the acting city administrator position, and council members unanimously voted in closed session Monday night to certify the decision.
“We just felt that our department heads have done a great job in the past few weeks doing their jobs, but we also know we have bigger things coming up, with the budget and sewer projects, that we needed someone in that leadership role as administrator,” Horn said.
Horn said she nominated DeGonia for the position because she was confident that his longevity in the community and understanding of city issues will allow the city to “continue moving forward with business as usual.”
“He has been at all of our council meetings. He keeps up and does his homework, even if a project does not directly involve his department,” Horn said. “He has a good working knowledge and understanding of how the city works and what we need to be doing moving forward.”
Sedalia Police Cmdr. Larry Ward will serve as acting chief of the police department while DeGonia fills in as acting administrator, said Horn, who had taken on the duties of the city administrator since Myers was suspended.
DeGonia, who began his career with the Sedalia Police Department in 1986 and was appointed chief of police in 2006, said he was “excited to get started and keep the city pointed in the right direction.”
“I know the city. I have been here 25 years, and I have a strong senior staff to lean on, and those are the people that get the job done for the city,” DeGonia said. “Most of it will be about dealing with people, and I’ve done that for 25 years at the police department.”
DeGonia said he will be able to dedicate himself to the new position because he has full confidence in Ward’s ability to lead the day-to-day operations of the police department.
After 22 years on the force, Ward, commander of the criminal investigations bureau, said he was humbled and excited to be selected to lead the department on an interim basis.
Ward said he felt prepared to take on the additional responsibilities in his new role, and he was confident in other officers’ ability to keep the criminal investigations bureau on course.
“I have worked in every bureau except records ... I have an understanding of how the department operates,” Ward said. “My goal is just to keep the department on the right track that Chief DeGonia has going.”
Myers, who started working as Sedalia’s city administrator in April, remains on paid administrative leave pending further action and consideration by Horn and the City Council.
Myers was placed on leave last month by Horn and Mayor Pro Tem Ken Norton, Ward 4 councilman. City officials have not specified a reason for Myers’ suspension, offering no comment on the ongoing personnel issue.