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New St. James City Administrator

Jun 23

Posted Jun. 22, 2015 at 7:58 PM


Having a passion for trout fishing, cycling and running, Harold Selby appears to be an ideal match for being the new city administrator in St. James.

“Since I was old enough to drive, I’ve wanted to live in St. James because of the trout fishing at Maramec Spring,” Selby told The Rolla Daily News Monday, his first day on the new job.

Selby, 58, comes to St. James after serving as city administrator for nine years in Pacific, which like St. James, is also located along Interstate 44.

Selby said as he walked into his office Monday, he noticed a bookcase that has many of the same manuals and binders he had in his Pacific office. He said he will work with many of the same agencies, like the Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (MIRMA) in St. James, as he did in his previous job.

“A lot of the things are the same, but it’s a different city,” he said.

Selby was selected by a unanimous vote of the St. James City Council at a special meeting held Tuesday afternoon, June 16. He replaces Jeff Davis, who resigned in May.

Selby’s starting salary will be $51,000 a year, according to City Clerk Sarah Wheeler.

Prior to being Pacific’s city administrator, Selby served four two-year terms in the Missouri House of Representatives representing Franklin, Jefferson and St. Louis counties.

“In state government you have two years to get something done, but in city government, it’s more like two hours,” Selby said with a laugh, noting that many city residents expect a more fast-paced municipal government.

He said his experience in the Missouri Legislature has helped him in city government. The connections he made with state officials while serving as a lawmaker helped him know who to contact when he worked in Pacific.

For instance, while serving in the Missouri House, Selby worked with Claire McCaskill, who was state auditor at the time. Knowing McCaskill, who has since became a U.S. senator, was a benefit for Selby when it came time to get assistance from the federal government after flooding occurred in Pacific.

Economic development is one of Selby’s goals as city administrator.

Selby said he didn’t initially plan a career in civil service when he was younger. He went to Jefferson College and the Control Data Institute, which was located at Saint Louis University, for education in electronics.

“My first endeavor into politics was when I ran for the 911 (emergency services) board in Jefferson County,” Selby said. He decided to run for the board because of his knowledge in electronics along with being an amateur radio operator and a volunteer firefighter.

He won a seat on the board, which was just in its beginning phases, and worked with Jefferson County government officials to set up the system.

However, he said he also received a lot of education while serving in the Missouri House.

Selby has been married to his wife for 37 years and they have two grown children.

In his spare time, Selby said he enjoys fishing, running and riding his bike.

Selby will be only the second city administrator for St. James, since the city added the position in 2012 and changed to an administrator-council form of government.

According to Wheeler, the city began taking applications for the position in May. She said at least 20 resumes were received for the job. “A handful were from out of state, but most were from Missouri,” she said.

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