About eight months after its longtime city administrator announced his intention to retire, Harvard has found a new person to lead its municipal government, officials said.
Lou Leone is expected to succeed city administrator Dave Nelson, who served as Harvard’s city administrator for 35 years, according to a city news release on Friday.
Leone will be officially confirmed at the town meeting on November 22 and will start on December 12.
“I am delighted to join the team of professionals who work hard every day to provide municipal services to residents and businesses,” Leone said in the statement. “I want to be an active member of the community and I can’t wait to get started.”
Once he begins, Leone will spend several weeks learning about the organization to create “as smooth a transition as possible,” Mayor Michael Kelly said in the statement.
Prior to assuming this role, Leone served as the city administrator of Kiowa, Kansas; New London, Wis.; and Nebraska City, Nebraska, according to the release. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Millikin University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.
He has also worked as a paralegal and holds a paralegal certificate from Loyola University Chicago, according to the statement.
Leone was selected from a pool of 19 candidates to replace Nelson, who announced his retirement in February after more than three decades of service, the statement said.
Earlier in the year, Nelson said he intended to retire by January 6, 2023. He joined the role in 1988 at the age of 25, and was the only full-time job he ever had, he said. He said he felt it was his chance “to live a little life after this”.
During his tenure, Nelson worked with six different mayors and 50 aldermen. He also hired north of 90% of the staff who worked for the city.
Many, including Kelly, said replacing Nelson would be difficult given his institutional knowledge of the city.
Looking ahead, Leone will enter the fray as the city begins work on its new budget for fiscal year 2024, the statement said. He will also have to hire two new department heads, carry out a major upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant and work on certain economic development initiatives.
“Mr. Leone will have to get to work,” Kelly said in the statement. “Mr. Leone will certainly have his hands full ensuring that we maintain essential city services while learning about our city, its people and its businesses.