New city adminstrator to start work on April 4
Mike Yanez likes small towns.
And in about six weeks, he'll become the top non-elected city official in Tonganoxie.
"I'm a small-town boy, and I like to live in small towns," the 55-year-old Yanez said. "I like to go home at lunch time. I just like the feeling of living in a neighborhood where people know each other. There are some good, warm values in small towns."
Yanez is leaving a similar position in Eudora to take over the reigns of city management in Tonganoxie. And he's impressed with what he's seen here.
"It's a mixture of the old and the new," he said. "The downtown is as attractive as any downtown I've seen in any community. Yet, there's a four-lane to the metropolitan Kansas City area."
¢ The agreement can be continued for an additional two-year period.
¢ Yanez is required to move to Tonganoxie within three months of starting work. And the city will pay up to $1,000 in moving expenses.
¢ He will be paid a base salary of $60,000. The city council will review his work at the end of the third and sixth month of his employment, and at that time the council could vote to increase his salary.
¢ In addition, Yanez will be paid $250 monthly for use of his vehicle, along with reimbursement beyond a 50-mile radius of Tonganoxie.
In Eudora, Yanez was the city's first city administrator. In Tonganoxie, he is city's sixth administrator.
"I come here with no preconceived notions," he said. "I'm here to listen. I'm here to learn. I'm here to evaluate. And I'm going to work with the governing body and staff to make things happen."
Yanez doesn't expect to make any major changes during his first few months on the job.
"I told the city council during the interview that it's their community, it's their vision, and it's my job to see if I can make that vision come true. I'm not here to tell Tonganoxie what it should be or shouldn't be."
Yanez, a native of Parsons, worked for 2 1/2 years as city administrator in Columbus, Kan., before taking the Eudora job. Before that, he worked in Nome, Alaska, for three years as city manager.
He'd spent 18 years in Alaska.
"I took off in '82 just for an adventure," he said. "I stayed there for 18 years. I had an adventure, that's for sure."
Yanez didn't start his career thinking he wanted to be a city manager.
He was a recreation major at Pittsburg State University. In Seward, Alaska, he was recreation director, when he was asked to serve as assistant city manager.
"I was asked to serve in the position," he said. "I obviously was doing a good job at it. So here I am, still in the business."
Yanez sees his job as serving as a liaison between citizens, the city staff and the governing body.
And while Yanez likes to golf, fish and simply socialize with friends, he does enjoy time alone.
"I do value my quiet time," he said. "In a job like mine, you get so much of people during the day."
Yanez officially begins work April 4, but he attended a city study session on Monday night. And his contract with the city requires him to move from Eudora to Tonganoxie within three months after starting work. That doesn't appear to be a problem.
"I think I've already found a place," he said. "I'm sure I'll be living here."