Matt Shatto, who has served as city administrator for North Kansas City for nearly three years, has resigned.
Shatto recently alerted the City Council that he is stepping down to become the chief operating officer for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. His last day with North Kansas City is set for Dec. 17 and he is scheduled to begin work at the golf association in early January.
“We’ve made a lot of progress in the city,” Shatto said. “Financially, I think we are in a much better position than where we were three years ago. We have put into place a lot of new programs and policies to ensure the long-term financial stability of the (city).
Shatto was appointed city administrator in 2011, replacing Pamela Windsor. Before that, he was deputy city administrator for Lenexa. From 2002 to 2005, Shatto was the assistant to the city administrator of Maryland Heights, Mo.
In June 2012, Shatto took the lead in 2012 when the North Kansas City Council approved hiring a New York investment bank to look at options for selling North Kansas City Hospital amid concerns over the new federal health care law. Hospital leaders rejected those concerns and thought the facility would do well.
The council’s action angered many residents who said the hospital is a community asset. It was initially aided with property taxes and bonds but became self-sustaining, and it claims the city’s involvement is limited to appointing trustees.
The move also drew the attention of state lawmakers. They introduced legislation that initially sought to change the governance of the hospital from a municipal charter to an independent nonprofit. But after considerable debate, the final bill that Gov. Jay Nixon signed would require any sale to be approved by the city and hospital, and then be submitted to voters.
Shatto said the City Council wanted to evaluate the hospital as a city asset. There was never a decision to sell it, he said.
“I think it was an interesting year as it relates to the relationship between the city and the hospital and I think what I can share today is the two entities have a better working relationship than what they have had in the past and that is beneficial for both,” Shatto said.
Fred Steffan said he and other council members were surprised when Shatto announced he was resigning to take another job.
“With city administrators, it is a fact to me that they come and go,” Steffan said.
Steffan said Shatto’s work recently turned a $500,000 operating deficit with the city’s the internet provider into a small profit.
“He did some good things like help us balance the budget,” Steffan said. “But there were things that happened during his time that seemed to ruffle the community.”
Shatto said the city government is now much leaner while providing the same level of municipal services. For the past two years, the council approved structurally balanced budgets. The rainy day fund is equal to about seven months of expenditures, he said.
“I take great pride in the progress that we have made and the willingness of the council to do what was necessary to ensure the city is more sustainable moving forward,” Shatto said. “I am appreciative of the opportunity and I am leaving behind a great group city employees who I am going to miss.”