City of Pleasant Hill

Posted on: May 31, 2017

Don Sandor, Retiring City Manager Leaves Legacy

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On December 3, 2007, Don Sandor became the fourth City Manager for the City of Pleasant Hill. During his tenure, he has certainly created a legacy that will be missed by many.

“Being City Manager meant paving the way for current residents and future generations, through careful planning, improved facilities, better service, to create a more desirable place to live,” Sandor said.

Sandor began his career in public administration 38 years ago when he began working as the Village Administrator for the Village of Elburn, Illinois. He continued advancing his career and held a variety of positions including City Administrator with the City of Eldridge and City of Waverly; Vice President of Administration and Finance at the University of Charleston; Borough Manager for Sewickley, Pennsylvania; and City Manager with the City of Oskaloosa.

As Sandor approaches his last month of work before retirement, he certainly has many accomplishments he is proud of. “When I return to the cities I have managed, I take great pride seeing citizens enjoying projects that I was instrumental in getting implemented. I will certainly miss having a role in helping to make those improvements in the community,” Sandor said.

In Pleasant Hill, Sandor notes many proud accomplishments over the last nine and a half years. “First is Pleasant Hill’s financial position was good prior to my leadership, but it is even stronger now. The City’s credit rating is higher, the fund balances have increased and the tax levy rate has remained unchanged. Second is the quality of City staff and organizational structure have made the city more efficient. This includes hiring the first full-time Fire Chief and Communications Specialist to revamping the Parks and Recreation Department. Third is establishing and maintaining a Capital Improvement Plan that provides guidance for major capital projects in upcoming years. Fourth is the physical improvements made to Copper Creek Lake Park and Doanes Park. Both of these parks are gems for the City and their improvements will provide residents and visitors years of enjoyment,” Sandor said.  

Don Sandor has certainly left a legacy mark on this City and looks forward to Ben Champ taking the city to the next level. Sandor said, “There are many more Capital Improvement Projects on the horizon than there is money to fund them all in the time frame that everyone would like to see them done. These projects would include the SE Connector, reconstruction of 60th and Morningstar Court, reconstruction of 70th  with construction of Meacham Drive, and development of the new 77 acre parkland, to name a few. These are all significant and important projects, but prioritization and funding will be essential. It is important the city continue to plan well with capital projects and operational expenses to maintain this strong financial position. Prioritization of projects is critical as everything cannot be done at once.”

From a distance, Sandor looks forward to watching two projects come to fruition. First is the completion of the SE Connector between Highway 65 and downtown Des Moines. Second is the development of the commerce park area on NE University Avenue as well as other potential development along the vacant property east of the Bypass.

Sandor will certainly miss working in a city that is more open, less congested and has many physical features that make it unique and a community of choice. He has certainly appreciated the actively engaged citizens within the community.

“One of the greatest gifts a Mayor can receive is working with a City Manager whom you trust and have the upmost respect for,” said Mayor Sara Kurovski. “Don is certainly that and his guidance has been a true gift. I consider myself blessed to be surrounded by a lot of good people including City staff, Council, volunteers and community members. As Don approaches his final month before retirement, I want to thank him for his leadership and bringing our great community to the next level. His respect for this community and his guidance will certainly be missed by many.”

Don Sandor looks forward to retirement where he can enjoy more time with his children and grandchildren. “We are excited to visit places we have not seen and continue our pursuit to visit every major league baseball stadium. We will spend more time volunteering and helping with organizations that have special meaning to us,” said Sandor.  

Sandor’s last day at City Manager will be June 30, 2017. The City Council has approved the hiring of Ben Champ as City Manager effective July 1, 2017. Champ served as the City’s Community Development Director from July 2008 to April 2017. In 2014, the role of Assistant City Manager was added to his duties.

The community is invited to congratulate Sandor on his retirement on Wednesday, June 28 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Copper Creek Events Center (The Bunker), 4825 Copper Creek Drive in Pleasant Hill. 

Click to view Sandor's retirement party invite
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