City of Lawrence selects new leader for Municipal Services and Operations department

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Following a national search, the city has selected Melissa Sieben as the new director of Municipal Services and Operations, according to a news release Tuesday.

Sieben, who recently served as assistant county administrator at the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas for seven years, has 23 years of local government experience serving communities in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas, according to the release.


“I am looking forward to working with Municipal Services and Operations staff and City leadership to implement the goals of the strategic plan and continue to enhance service delivery,” Sieben said in the release. “Lawrence is an amazing community and I look forward to being part of this team that is investing in functional and efficient infrastructure!”

Sieben holds a master of public administration degree from the University of Kansas and a bachelor of arts with distinction in history with a minor in political science from Iowa State University. She has served as assistant city administrator in Ames, Iowa, and as assistant city administrator for Gardner, Kansas.

“Sieben was also privileged to be elected and served on the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Executive Board of Directors,” according to the release. “She has served on multiple task forces for ICMA including the Task Force on Women in the Profession and the Task Force on Strengthening Inclusiveness.”

The MSO department includes three divisions — from the city’s website: infrastructure and maintenance (facilities and structures, street and stormwater maintenance, pavement management, water treatment and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment), engineering (engineering design and technical support, stormwater, utility and traffic engineering), and services (solid waste, water, wastewater, fleet management, and administrative functions).

MSO workers voted in October to unionize with Teamsters Local 696.

Sieben is expected to start her position on April 29.

“Melissa is an enthusiastic and energetic leader with a passion for local government and community service,” City Manager Craig Owens said in the release.

The department’s previous director, Dave Wagner, retired at the end of 2021. Melinda Harger, previously the assistant director of MSO, has held the interim director role.

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