City manager awarded Fulbright Scholar grant

WARRENSBURG, Mo. – Warrensburg City Manager Paula Hertwig-Hopkins has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach American local government at the National University “Odesa Law Academy” in Odessa, Ukraine, according to a press release.

The announcement was made by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

“This is a wonderful and well-deserved honor for Ms. Hopkins.  Fulbright is widely recognized as a prestigious international exchange program,” said Mayor Charlie Rutt.  “It is impressive that our community’s city manager was selected based on her qualifications and personal leadership abilities, among other criteria, to be an ambassador to the Ukraine on behalf of both the United States and Warrensburg.”

“The Fulbright Program’s application process was lengthy and rigorous.  I submitted my application quite some time ago, and months later received the city manager position here in Warrensburg,” said Hopkins.  “City Council has graciously blessed this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I am grateful and humbled to receive.  I would not undertake this commitment without their approval and without being satisfied myself that the business of the City may be handled responsibly in my absence.  I will continue to evaluate that before packing any bags.”

City Council is currently working through the details of ensuring all City business is seamlessly covered during Hopkins’ unpaid leave of absence.  Potential interim manager candidates will later be presented to Council for review and approval on an interim basis.

“Should circumstances allow me to participate in this opportunity, I will remain available through the advents of modern technology. I will remain involved every step of the way.”

Council is also considering, in partial recognition of remaining engaged in the development and management of the City, to keep certain employee benefits in place to avoid interruption.  Specifically, Council is considering continuous participation in the City’s group health insurance plan.

Additionally, although contributions to the City pension plan on Hopkins’ behalf would be suspended during her absence, she would continue to be an employee of the City and thereby will earn service credit for such plan.

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