By Jan Rahn
Starting the new year in a new job and new location is Grant’s recently hired city administrator, Dana Harris.
Beginning her duties at the helm of city government on Wednesday, Jan. 2, Harris replaces former city administrator Tyson McGreer who resigned in August to accept a position in Kansas.
Harris comes from Melbeta where she served as municipal clerk for three years, participating in all aspects of city management including budget development and review, writing resolutions and ordinances, conducting public meetings and supervising employees and consultants.
Harris, who is a graduate of Banner County High School, grew up in the panhandle on a ranch/feedlot/farm and still has lots of family in that area.
She has a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Kansas where she graduated in 1995 with honors, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Nebraska-Kearney where she was in the honors program and double majored in history and geography, graduating in 1993.
“Since moving back to Nebraska, I have been waiting for an opportunity like this—a position where I can use my education and work experience to contribute to a community in western Nebraska,” said Harris. “I decided to apply in Grant because I was very impressed by the websites associated with the town—the city’s [website], chamber’s [website], school’s [website], Tribune’s [website], etc., and when I visited I was even more impressed with the town. It seemed like a great place to live.”
Although the frigid temperatures have been somewhat limiting, Harris said her immediate goals include meeting everyone she can and learning as much about Grant as possible.
She wants to get involved with the various committees, especially economic development and planning, and get involved with the upcoming public works projects, while still continuing to unpack and get settled in the house she shares with her young son, Cooper.
Their first night in the community was Dec. 20, so they were able to set up a Christmas tree and have time to bake cookies for Santa, she said.
Anxious to get integrated into her new position as city administrator, Harris said, “I enjoy working and contributing where I know it matters, and Grant seems like a great town with a very good quality of life that I hope I can work to maintain and/or improve.”
Some of her previous work history includes serving as instructor for Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff for five years, and senior planner for the Indiana Department of Transportation in Indianapolis, a position she held for three years immediately after receiving her Master’s Degree.
Along with having western Nebraska roots and a professional attitude, Harris possesses qualifications of state and local government planning and management experience, Fortune 500 corporate experience, project management, a Masters Degree on coursework in planning public administration, law, transportation, land use, environmental quality, economics, and statistics. She has excellent communication skills and public speaking experience.
As a busy single mom, Harris enjoys reading and attending auctions, along with going to thrift or antique stores.
“I am constantly impressed by what I find in Grant,” she said. “The number of businesses and activities is very remarkable for a city of this population. It seems like almost daily we find a new place to wander in to. I hope to get to all of the places in town, but I would also like to encourage anyone to stop by the city office and say hello.”