SPEARFISH — After four years serving the community, City Administrator Mike Harmon will bid a “bittersweet” farewell to Spearfish next month.
“Spearfish is a great community and one that my family and I were interested in relocating to, and it is bittersweet that an opportunity has come up that I cannot pass down,” he told the Pioneer Monday.
Harmon declined to say what exactly that opportunity is, offering only that he and his family would be moving to Wyoming where he will be working in the electric co-op industry.
“I’ve spent that last 23 years of my career in government and so I’m looking forward to transitioning into the private sector and pivoting my career,” he said. “It will be a completely new opportunity.”
Although he’s excited about life in the private sector, Harmon said his time in government has afforded him many opportunities he’s grateful for. Harmon pointed to the Sky Ridge housing development and Sports Complex, as well as the various recreational projects that have been initiated during his time with the city as some of his proudest moments.
“I really enjoy the variety of work that we get to perform in municipal government,” he said.
Harmon also said he’s proud of the progress made in changing some of the culture within the Spearfish government to be more responsive and customer service based.
“Instead of saying, ‘No’, figuring out how we can make certain projects work,” he said.
Fostering an environment of teamwork and cooperation among city staff has been a priority for Harmon as well. Having a genuine appreciation for every position within the city’s infrastructure and knowing that it takes the totality of a city’s government to make a city work, he said was something he was proud to bring with him to the city.
“One person is not responsible for the success of a community, it really takes a complete staff, a talented team, and great residents to make Spearfish what it is,” he said.
Harmon said he would miss meeting with members of the public and developers to come up with solutions to the issues faced by the community. Even the problems themselves, he said, he would look back on with fondness.
“We have a lot of good problems in Spearfish,” he said. “Whether it be growth, or running out of room – infrastructure challenges, etc., due to growth … just the sheer variety of projects that I get to be involved with … I’ll miss that aspect of the position.”
Harmon said city staff plans to recommend an interim city administrator for council approval during its June 21 meeting. Harmon will work closely with that individual for his remaining time in the office to make sure they are up to speed with the projects being done by the city.
“I work with a very talented group of professionals that are dedicated to doing the best they can do for this city to make sure that this community operates and continues to enjoy successful growth and smart development,” he said. “To not be a part of that group, I will miss them, certainly.”
Harmon said he was grateful for his time and experience in Spearfish, and it is with mixed emotions that he and his family are leaving.
“It’s with both excitement and reservation that we leave the community,” he said. “I thank the community for allowing me to serve them for four years. It’s really been a pleasure. I’ve got memories I won’t soon forget, and I get to be a part of shaping the community both during a pandemic and during an unprecedented growth period, and that has been my privilege. I will certainly miss Spearfish.”
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