Newspaper Reporter to be Urbana Mayor’s Chief of Staff


The new chief of staff for the Mayor of Urbana is a person who's been reporting on Urbana city government for the News-Gazette for several years. The Urbana City Council Monday night approved the hiring of longtime News-Gazette reporter Mike Monson to be Mayor Laurel Prussing's top aide.

The 51-year-old Monson will work with the mayor, and serve as a contact with the city council, city staff, other governments and the public. But he will not be a replacement for former Chief Administrative Officers Bruce Walden. Monson won't be in charge of the budget, and city department heads will not report to him. Monson says Mayor Prussing's management of city government since Walden's departure two years ago is proof she doesn't need another administrator.

"This recession has been telling; you know, there were no layoffs, not even any hiring freezes', says Monday. "Southeast Urbana has developed very well. You know, that was (Prussing's) top priority coming into office, to revive that Philo Road corridor, and she's done it. She's always been a hands-on public official and does a good job. I think that's why she won re-election so well. But she needs some assistance, and I'm going to do the best I can to help her."

Monson covered both city and county government during his 22 years with the News-Gazette. Prussing says a good way to understand something is to explain it to someone else --- and he says that's what Monson has done with local government as a reporter.

"And so I think he's going to be a great asset to the city of Urbana", says Prussing of Monson. "I wanted somebody I could trust. I've known him since 1987. He started out covering the county. And I've always found him to be highly professional and very ethical. And I think he's very nice to people, too."

Monson says he was contacted by Prussing about the chief of staff position about a week ago. Monson expects to start his new job next week. Mayor Prussing says Monson will make approximately 70-thousand dollars a year --- about 50-thousand dollars less than what Bruce Walden made as administrative officer.

Story source: AP