Fulton Assistant Director of Administration to leave in July

Matt Harline leaves Fulton after seven years to serve Centralia as city administrator

Matt Harline sits in the desk he will soon vacate. Fulton’s Assistant Director of Administration of seven years will be leaving in July to take the helm in Centralia as city administrator.

Matt Harline sits in the desk he will soon vacate. Fulton’s Assistant Director of Administration of seven years will be leaving in July to take the helm in Centralia as city administrator. Photo by Dean Asher.

If you ask Matt Harline, he’ll say he hasn’t accomplished a whole lot in seven years — not by himself, anyway.

Fulton’s assistant director of administration is quick to share credit with the city as a whole when talking about accomplishments since he began March 2007, such as improving public communication, streaming city council meetings and information and improving the city’s computer information system.

Harline’s coworkers argue his eye for detail is more instrumental to the city, but now it’s his turn to serve a different community. Harline will leave Fulton on July 3 to become Centralia’s new city administrator, filling in for outgoing City Administrator Lynn Behrns.

“My goal was to be a manager, not an assistant,” Harline said. “I’m really happy here, but it’s been seven years and it was a chance to take helm of a city that has a good, solid financial basis. It’s a good community with an active and stable council.”

Harline said he had been keeping an eye out for a position, but wanted to stay in the Central Missouri area for family. When Director of Administration Bill Johnson said he heard the Centralia position was opening, he recommended Harline, who “unfortunately for the city” was hired.

“Matt has a strong attention to detail, he has public service in his blood,” Johnson said. “The city of Fulton has been fortunate to have such a competent individual to be in that position, and I have relied on him a lot.”

During Harline’s tenure, Johnson said the position moved from more an assistant to the administrator to a decision-making assistant city administrator, adding that Harline serves as a department head and fulfills many of Johnson’s roles if he is absent.

“I always liked (former Mayor) Charlie Latham’s quote, ‘It’s a good day when people come to you with a problem and you can help, it’s a bad day is when you can’t,’” Harline said. “The citizens of Fulton have a good government and it’s really well run, so for citizens that means … we really work to take on any reasonable issues from citizens that we can fix.”

As Fulton’s assistant director of administration, Harline earned the Missouri City/County Management Association’s Richard R. Noll Outstanding Assistant Award in 2012 for excellence in leadership. He said he would particularly miss Fulton’s downtown area and the people he works with.

“It’s something different every day,” Harline said. “It’s a chance to have a meaningful effect on people’s lives in very different ways. This is an opportunity to keep a really fun job.”

Dean Asher can be reached at (573) 826-2417 or

dasher@fultonsun.com.

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