Trustees — including newly-elected trustee Ann Becker — interviewed candidates for the position in early November and identified Burks as a strong candidate.
Bellevue, Neb., located just outside of Omaha, has a population of 51,000. Burks’ focus has been economic development, organizational management and strategic planning, according to his resume. He also said he has experience in policy development, implementation and evaluation; public finance; sustainable development; and performance management and benchmarking.
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“He clearly was the individual who had the greatest breadth of experience that we needed for the kinds of services that we have here in West Chester,” Trustee Mark Welch said. “He had quite a bit of experience in a like-sized jurisdiction… he is very direct in his communication, which I like. He’s very thorough and detailed and I really get the impression he’s a very quick learner.”
Burks has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska and is a credentialed manager through International City/County Managers Association. He has been employed by the city of Bellevue since 2012, having previously served as city administrator, zoning administrator and economic development coordinator for the city of Onawa, Iowa, according to his resume.
Becker, whose first official act as a trustee was to participate in the interviews, also said Burks was a stand-out candidate.
“Mr. Burks offered a level of professionalism that I think fit the township,” she said. “I think it will help continue our excellent customer service to our constituents and continue to make West Chester one of the best places to live.”
The trustees hired Larry Fronk in an interim administrator role while they conducted a national search for the top leadership spot.
The township paid Novak Consulting Group $25,000 to help find their new administrator. Welch said they received 50 applications, and the consulting company whittled the field to 10.
West Chester trustees then interviewed five candidates over two days, he said.
“Mr. Burks is the most experienced candidate we found and the staff liked him and his qualifications stood out,” West Chester Trustee Lee Wong said.