GEARHART, Kenneth. (Carlisle, IA- ). City Manager. In 1979 Gearhart, succeeding Gilbert D. CHAVENELLE, became the eighth city manager of Dubuque. A graduate of Grinnell (Iowa) College in political science, Gearhart received a master's degree from Pennsylvania State University in public administration. Before coming to Dubuque, he held the position of analyst in administration and budget for Cincinnati, Ohio, and served as assistant budget director for Montgomery County, Maryland. From 1969 to 1970 he served as fiscal director in Iowa for the Governor's Office for Planning and Programming.
Gearhart moved to Dubuque in March 1970, as assistant city manager. He was credited with implementing Dubuque's adoption of program budgeting and with promoting computerization in the preparation and monitoring of the city's budget. His administrative study of the police department led to its reorganization of personnel and activities.
Gearhart served as project director of the revitalized Metropolitan Crime Commission and successfully advocated the establishment of a boys' group home in 1971. He assisted in the organization of the Dubuque Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinating Committee in 1970 and directed city efforts in obtaining federal funds for CORNERSTONE, a youth contact house. Gearhart moved to Davenport where he was the chief administrative officer from July 1972, to November 1976. In 1976 Gearhart moved to Sioux City as the director of finance operations. He returned to Dubuque in February 1979, as management systems analyst and was named city manager in July 1979.
Despite offers from other cities and early stormy relations with the city council, Gearhart remained in Dubuque where his quiet mastery of detail became accepted by most of his former critics.