Looking back at 2023: Smith, Vanderholm named as city’s new administrator and clerk

The City of Red Oak saw a new face and a familiar one assume leadership positions.
On May 31, Kyra Smith assumed her duties as the city’s new city administrator, replacing Brad Wright, who left the position in December, 2022. While she was born and raised in Red Oak, Smith said she’d been away for the past 20 years. Prior to moving to Red Oak, she was the  senior purchasing administrator for Johnson County, Kan.
“They are one of the richest counties in the nation. They had a $1.9 billion dollar budget that we worked with, which is a bit of a difference from Red Oak. I worked there for about four and a half years, and have built some great working relationships over the last 18 years that I’ve been in public education and local government,” stated Smith.
When the city administrator position opened in Red Oak, Smith, looking for an opportunity, saw a a change in the community and see it forward. Smith was notified about the opening by her family.
“My family was keeping me in the loop because they were pretty eager to get my family moved back here as well, so they were the ones that told me about the opening,” Smith said.
Smith said being able to return to her hometown and make a difference was a driving factor in deciding to apply for the city administrator position.
“The city definitely needed some leadership that was willing to move forward and see things get done, such as fiber internet and housing development,” explained Smith. “I see that they have a lot of those items in the works since I started, and I am in full support of those things, and I’m here to make sure that we’re doing it right and following things correctly, as well as being able to build a cohesive team here that works well together, among the staff, the members of the city council and the public. I see that is happening already and would like to make this the best place to work and live.”
Smith said the call to offer her the job came at an interesting time.
“It was exciting to get the call.  We were in California on vacation when it came through. We immediately started trying to make plans, and I had to prepare to tell everyone I worked with in Kansas that I was leaving. It was hard, because I had grown a very strong relationship with them. But I knew it was what we needed to do to be closer to everyone, as most of our family is located in Southwest Iowa,” Smith commented.
Smith said since May 31, she’s jumped in head-first into the new role and is looking forward to taking the burden off of the other staff who have picked up extra duties in the interim.
“They’ve been working as hard and as quickly as they can, and there was not a lot of cross-training. That’s definitely something I’m wanting to change, so if people are out sick, or want to take a vacation, they’ll have someone that can back them up and cover their position so they can be away without worrying what they’ll come back to. We had that coverage when I worked in Johnson County, and it was very nice to have that communication,” Smith said.
As she continues in her new role, Smith she’s focusing on a couple of areas.
“I’m looking forward to meeting with companies that possibly want to bring their business to Red Oak. That’s something I’d like to see grow. Also, I’d like to see fiber internet come in that will hopefully attract more businesses. Where I’m currently staying, the first three days we were here, the internet at the house went down every night,” stated Smith.
On Feb. 6, the Red Oak City Council unanimously named Christie Vanderholm as Red Oak City Clerk.
Longtime city clerk Mary Bolton retired from the post at the beginning of the year. Vanderholm has worked for the City of Red Oak for more than eight years.
Red Oak Mayor Shawnna Silvius praised Vanderholm, saying she conducted three interviews for the position, which went very well.
“I’ve watched her blossom the last month and a half. She’s taken a lot of responsibilities and she has handled it very well. I’m very glad she was interested in the position,” Silvius said.
Councilman Brian Bills, who served on the hiring committee, also praised Vanderholm.
“We interviewed some other highly-qualified people, and Vanderholm rose to the top,” commented Bills. “I thank you for your continued diligence.”
Vanderholm said she was excited for the new role, but knew it would be a lot of work.
“Until we get someone for my present job as accounts payable/accounts receivable, I’ll be doing both. When we hire my replacement, I have to train that person,” said Vanderholm. “I also want to learn about the budget, because that’s part of my new job as well. I knew going in that this was going to be a lot of work, but I can handle it, and I have a lot of people who give me a lot of support. If I don’t know something, I ask questions until I get the answer.”

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

Comment Here