The city of Oak Grove will soon have a chief administrative officer after the position’s vacancy for almost six months.

 The city of Oak Grove will soon have a chief administrative officer after the position’s vacancy for almost six months.

Steven Craig, 28, has been named as Oak Grove’s new city administrator. His first day of employment will be Feb. 23. He is currently employed as the city administrator in Camdenton, Mo., which has a population of about 2,800 residents.

In his previous administrator role, Craig supervised 42 full-time and 25 seasonal employees. A lifelong Missouri resident, Craig grew up in Cassville, Mo., which has a population of about 3,000 residents. Because his father served as Cassville’s mayor for about six years, Craig said his interest in city service grew. He attended Missouri State University (then Southwest Missouri State University) and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration. 

While attending Missouri State, Craig had several professors who had worked in local government and was exposed to the issues they encountered, he said. 

“The issues that cities face are very tangible and I’ve been interested in them,” Craig said. “I enjoy what I do and truly like the positions that I’ve held.”

Bryan Long previously served as Oak Grove’s city administrator. Long resigned in July 2008 after four years as administrator. Craig said he visited Oak Grove several times before he even applied for the position.

“It’s a wonderful smaller community, which is something that I’ve grown up in and been used to,” Craig said. “It’s an opportunity that I look forward to.”

Craig said he is aware that the administrator’s first month is a critical time and he plans to meet with elected officials, city staff and residents immediately. He also plans to meet with Mayor Mark Fulks and learn about Oak Grove’s city street improvement project. In November’s general election, Oak Grove voters approved the issuance of general obligation bonds up to $8.47 million to design, construct, extend and improve five city streets and roads. 

“Oak Grove faces many issues like other communities that will take time to get up to speed on,” Craig said.

Craig also previously worked as the assistant city administrator/economic development director in Camdenton and as the economic development director in Cabool, Mo.

At Monday night’s meeting, the Oak Grove Board of Aldermen will consider an ordinance that approves the appointment of Craig as city administrator.