The City of Riverside has chosen Brian Koral as its next city administrator.
During a council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, the board approved hiring the current city administrator for Atoka, Tenn.
For Koral and his family, it is a return back to Missouri, where he served as the personnel director from 2007 to 2011 for the City of Sedalia.
After his initial interview with the city last month, Koral, his wife and two children — ages 8 and 5 — visited Riverside and the Kansas City area during President’s Day weekend to get a better feel for the community. That trip sold the entire family on moving to the area, one they visited often when living in Sedalia.
Koral’s last day in Atoka, about 30 miles north of Memphis, will be April 13 and he will start his new job on April 23, taking a spot currently held by Greg Mills, who will be retiring.
“Everything I have seen, I have been impressed with from elected officials, the mayor and leadership,” Koral said. “Everyone seems top notch and that was a huge part of the decision. I was looking for an organization in a good position and performing well and I want to help continue the push forward and take it to another level.
“If you asked me a year ago if I was headed back to Missouri, I couldn’t see it happening. The opportunity popped up in Riverside and it felt right, and the visit confirmed it.”
Koral is a native of Rochester, N.Y. and attended college at Elon University in Elon, N.C. He is currently working on a master’s degree from Arkansas State in public administration.
His entry into helping the public started following college, where he ran KSDP AM radio — a public broadcasting channel — in Sand Point, Ak. for five years.
“As a 21 year old it was an option,” Koral said. “I didn’t have any connections there but it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime shots, so let’s go and try it.”
Koral did radio in college and was originally a communication major at Elon before switching to political science.
He and his wife then moved to Sedalia, where he oversaw 220 employees in 14 different departments. In 2010, he served a stint as the interim city administrator in Sedalia.
Koral is moving to a city with a population of around 3,300 at the time of the last census in 2016, but has a higher population during the work-time hours.
He comes from a town that saw a lot of growth over the last 30 years, but was more of a sleeper town as many worked in Memphis or the suburbs.
Atoka had a population of nearly 10,000 during the 2016 census, but back in 1990 the population of the town was a mere 650. With an ever-growing community came plenty of chances for Koral to make an impact in Atoka.
Some of his bigger achievements included starting a fire department as well as investing millions in the parks department — something much desired in a sleeper community.
Koral noted that there are about 1,000 students between kindergarten and fifth grade in Atoka — a 1/10th of the city’s population.
“I enjoy the opportunity to serve the public and I desire to dig in and get my hands dirty and improve the conditions around,” Koral said. “One thing I love is when you can see the results of what you do and it’s on a local level. I take my kids to the playground our organization improved or the splash pad we had done. Really seeing the results is so rewarding.”
There were plenty of other things that Koral helped take a part of in Tennessee. Atoka became the first town in Tipton County to start offering curbside recycling, while adding residential trash pickup, as well as water, sewer and road improvements were needed for the booming town.
In other news:
- Approved a contract renewal for transit service between the city and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to not exceed $15,828.
- Gave approval to the mayoral appointment of Tammy Moody from Bank Liberty as the director of the Riverside Gateway Crossing Community Improvement District.
- Two police cars placed in an online auction were sold for $18,700, higher than expected according to police chief Chris Skinrood.