City Council wants outside firm to lead administrator search
A 90-minute work session Monday devoted to the search for a city administrator and further discussion on the topic at the Tonganoxie City Council’s regular council meeting produced limited progress.
It was the council’s first extended discussion of the search since it voted Aug. 22 not to extend Mike Yanez’s $87,800 annual contract past its Dec. 31 expiration.
Mayor Jason Ward said the three issues before the council in the work session were an update of the city administrator’s job description, whether to hire a firm to lead the administrator search and agreement on an interim administrator with the now-certainty that a new administrator will not be hired before Yanez’s contract expires.
Although discussion on the job description exhausted the 90-minute work session, the council was unable to work through all the description now in place. It was only during the council’s regular meeting that the council voted, 3-2, to seek requests for proposals from firms to guide the city administrator search.
That wording for that request will not be ready until Nov. 28. Council members agreed that didn’t allow enough time to get a new city administrator hired before Yanez’s contract expired even without the RFP process.
With that in mind, Ward proposed to the council that Yanez’s contract, should he be willing, be extended until a new administrator was found.
Councilman Bill Peak “wholeheartedly disagreed” and asked for an executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. The meeting ended with no further discussion of an interim administrator.
Peak and Dennis Bixby opposed the RFP to find an outside search firm. Both councilmen expressed concern about the cost. The city has three search offers, including those from the Kansas League of Municipalities and Springsted Inc, the city’s consulting financial firm. Those two entities would charge $4,499 and $8,500, respectively.
The two councilmen also argued the council could perform the task with the aid of a volunteer professional committee Ward proposed as a possible alternative to a professional search firm.
However, the majority of the council agreed on the need to hire a search firm. Councilman Chris Donnelly questioned whether the council could devote the time the job needed, noting the failure of the council to complete the job description in the 90-minute work session.
That discussion will continue at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Assistant City Administrator Kathy Bard will prepare a summary of the changes in the job description agreed upon Monday for that meeting.
In other news, the council:
• Approved rezoning, as recommended by the Tonganoxie Planning Commission, of property at 415 N. Main St. from single-family residential to moderate industrial to planned commercial district. The property owner, Anthony Brungardt, plans to operate a pest control business on the property and wants to sell his used vehicles at the site.
• Approved special use permits for day-care operations at 200 S. Melrose and 102 N. Village Terrace.
• Met in executive session to discuss property acquisition for a new police station.