CEO/Mayor Tyrone Garner of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, officially introduced Cheryl Harrison-Lee as interim county administrator today.
The first Black woman appointed to the role; Harrison-Lee was confirmed unanimously by the Board of Commissioners last week and assumed her role on Jan. 7.
“Ms. Harrison-Lee brings a wealth of experience and expertise in her knowledge of management, administration, leadership and effective governance,” said Garner. “I have no doubt that Ms. Harrison-Lee is the best choice for our community moving forward. I know that she will bring engaged leadership, competent management and so much more, in order to help us all facilitate making Wyandotte County a great and safe place to live, work and raise a family.”
Harrison-Lee brings more than 35 years of professional experience as a nationally-recognized public and private sector executive at a time when the UG anticipates making generational investments in the community while managing a public health response to a global pandemic.
She has a graduate degree from University of Florida and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina. She is also a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program.
As the technical adviser for Kansas City, MO on the $100 million Central City Sales Tax, she addressed historically disadvantaged neighborhoods through new, catalytic investment.
She was appointed by Gov. Laura Kelly to establish the framework, strategic priorities and financial reporting for $1.034 billion CARES Act federal allocation to the state of Kansas to counter the economic and health impacts of COVID-19.
She is also the Chair of the Kansas Board of Regents, working on statewide higher education issues.
Throughout her career, Harrison-Lee has worked to bring a more data-driven, accountable approach to public agencies through a commitment to collecting, using and sharing performance data to enhance transparency and continually improve organizations and communities, all skillsets she will apply in her role as interim county administrator.
In Harrison-Lee’s vision to lead the county, she focuses on a detailed plan to improve the quality of life of Wyandotte County citizens.
“I’ve seen what happens when confidence in leadership is restored,” Harrison-Lee said. “I’ve seen the smiles on the faces of residents who can actively engage their leaders and know that promises will be kept, and I’ve witnessed what it looks like when equitable opportunities are given to all residents of the community.”
In her plan called “Vision 2022: Transformation Through Collaboration,” Harrison-Lee highlighted four areas, including discovering ways to strengthen engagements among residents, local government and businesses and identifying economic development opportunities that create access, equity and shared prosperity.
“It is important that this administration be the catalyst for a forward-thinking vision which supports a high standard of governance and establishes a strong community with long-term sustainability,” Harrison Lee said.