After culling a field of 92 candidates, the city’s leadership tapped Shawn Gillen, a veteran public administrator of 16 years. Gillen, who has served in the same capacity for Grand Rapids, Minn. since 2007, assumes his new role April 17.
Before taking the Grand Rapids post, Gillen served as assistant professor of public finance at Eastern Kentucky University. Prior to that, he served for three years as chief of staff for the city council of the Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky Urban County Government. Gillen also served a term as mayor of Monmouth, Ill. in the late 90s.
“I am looking forward to this great opportunity and my family is very excited about this new chapter in our lives,” said Gillen. “I would like to thank the mayor and city council for selecting me. It will be an honor to serve as Doraville’s city manager.”
Gillen holds a masters of public administration and a doctorate in public finance from the University of Kentucky. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa where he played for the Hawkeye football program. Gillen and his wife Katie have three daughters, Georgia, Lilla and Scarlett.
A town of about 10,000, Gillen led the northern Minnesota hamlet of Grand Rapids through a tough financial crisis. That experience will come in handy.
He will face similar challenges in Doraville, a community still reeling from General Motor’s departure in 2008. His public financing chops will also be well served as the city prepares for the plant’s eventual redevelopment.
With the appointment, Doraville will shed the full-time mayor form of government, which has held sway since a 1981 referendum.
Mayor Donna Pittman will transition to the role as part-time mayor, a move she welcomes.
“I’ve enjoyed my time as mayor and city administrator, but the dual role is taxing,” said Pittman. “I’m looking forward to a new era, and I couldn’t be more excited about our selection.”