Gering HR director first in the hot seat

Gering Human Resources Director Tammy Cooley shakes hands with City Councilor Troy Cowen after her interview before the Gering City Council and mayor for the City Administrator position. Danielle Prokop/Star-Herald

Tammy Cooley opened her interview for city administrator with a small gift — little bottles of hand sanitizer she filled by hand — which she gave to Gering City Council members and Mayor Tony Kaufman Wednesday, July 8.

While no one wore a mask, Cooley said it was a gesture for the new normal of living through a global pandemic.

“I know coronavirus has changed the way that we live our lives, the way that we work and the way we do business,” she said. “I’m from the generation that your word means a lot, and a handshake means a lot, so with you permission, I’d like to go around and give you a handshake.”

After the formalities, the questions began, with Kaufman reading from a four-page packet. The interview lasted more than an hour and a half.

The topics ranged from visions to motivations, asking about previous successes and failures. Kaufman told the Courier that all candidates were facing the same questions.

Cooley said she went for the position because of her long career with Morrill, saying she wore a lot of hats and had the experience.

“I had a council, but pretty much I was the one who got to make those decisions, and lead our people, and lead our town, ” she said. “I know this is a lot bigger city, and I also know these opportunities don’t come around often.”

She said her strengths include communication and listening, and talked about her habits of staying organized.

When it comes to dealing with the public, Cooley said she wants to be hands-on.

“I think you need to be an active part of the community, being part of groups, being out and about, not always dressed like this of course,” she joked, gesturing to her white suit with navy trim.

Cooely said she wanted to be “honest, transparent, dependable and consistent.”

“Those may sound like clichés, but in the real world, they’re not,” Cooley said.

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