Carthage City Administrator Tom Short resigns after nearly 25 years

Tom Short, Carthage City Administrator, resigned Friday, April 1, 2022. Photo courtesy

Tom Short, the long-time City Administrator of Carthage, resigned on Friday effective immediately and the Carthage City Council voted in a video conference special meeting to accept his resignation.

Carthage Mayor Dan Rife said he asked for Short’s resignation this week, but Rife declined to say specifically why he made the request.

“I’m not saying anything that he (Short) didn’t already say,” Rife said. “He put an email out yesterday to the city staff saying that, so I’m not giving anything away there, but that’s about all I want to say about that.”


The city put a statement on its Facebook page saying Short had announced his retirement and thanking him for his service.

“Tom has more than 40 years of experience in the public service sector,” the statement said. “He joined the City of Carthage in 1997. Tom has served for many Carthage mayors and is the longest serving city administrator in the City’s history. Before coming to Carthage, Tom previously served the cities of Ponca City, Oklahoma and Silver City, New Mexico. Thank you, Tom, for your service to the City and for dedicating many years of your professional life to the City of Carthage.”

Short had announced in a memo included in the agenda packet for last month’s Budget Ways and Means Committee that he planned to retire in the first few weeks of January, 2023, “depending on circumstances and information obtained from HR.”

Rife said the council also voted on Friday to elevate Assistant City Administrator and former Police Chief Greg Dagnan to City Administrator.

Dagnan had taken that title on an interim basis while also holding on to the title of police chief from July 2021 until Jan. 1, 2022 when he became full time Assistant City Administrator.

That was part of the contract when we put him in as assistant city administrator was that he would take over at such a time as Tom left,” Rife said.

Short’s resignation comes as the city is in the process of completing its annual budget for the fiscal year that starts on July 1, 2022.

It also comes four days before an election that will put at least four new city council members in place and could put five new council members and a new mayor in place.

Rife is running for a second four-year term and is being challenged by David “Bren” Flanigan.

Rife said he was concerned about the timing of Short’s resignation, but “it just happened to be at that time.”

“There was no rhyme or reason for it, it just came about at the time the election happened to be,” Rife said. “That could be a unique situation. We’ll have to see how it goes but that could definitely be a challenge.”

Rife said there were no investigations into city operations and no indications of any kind of wrong-doing or other problems.

When asked why the city didn’t let Short serve until his planned retirement, Rife said: “I see that as a legitimate press question but I don’t really want to comment any further.”

An attempt to contact Short through an intermediary were unsuccessful on Friday. Rife said Short’s resignation letter would likely be released when the minutes to Friday’s meeting are released in about 72 hours.

“Things will continue as before, there won’t be any interruption,” Rife said. “Obviously he’ll be missed. In his position he did a lot for the city and he’ll be missed but we will continue on as needed. I have every confidence in Greg (Dagnan) to be able to jump in and fill the position and the staff are all the most capable folks I’ve ever worked with.