Joplin’s Assistant City Manager retiring soon

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JOPLIN, Mo. — There are just a few days left for Joplin’s assistant city manager, ending a career that’s spanned more than three decades.

“I’ve always said I still don’t know what I want to do with my life,” said Dan Pekarek, Joplin Asst. City Mgr.

But soon Dan Pekarek will have nothing but time to figure that out. He’s retiring from a career that started back in 1986 as an environmental sanitarian.

“You know the restaurant inspections for safety and sanitation, same thing for the hotels and for daycares, swimming pool safety, air quality,” said Pekarek.

Big changes were in store 10 years later when he was promoted to Joplin Health Director, tackling a wide range of issues.

“Animal control and with the medical services and with, you know, communicable disease investigations the WIC program and so forth,” said Pekarek.

There were the challenges of the 2011 tornado, everything from the injuries and deaths to the impact to hospitals and clinics, and trying to plan for possible pandemics.

“With SARS and with MERS and with, you know, you name it,” said Pekarek.

And COVID-19.

But just as that, hit Pekarek would take on another role, serving as both health director and interim city manager. He’s now assistant city manager.

Pekarek says some things he’ll miss, others not so much.

“Getting up every day and having to be here and dealing with some of the things on a daily basis I certainly won’t necessarily miss that, you know, just having more time to spend with my family and and do some of the things that I think I want to do,” said Pekarek.

Pekarek will retire on October 4th.

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