Archive for Thursday, July 12, 2001

Time for a Eudora city administrator

July 12, 2001

Establishing a city budget is a game of priorities.

City officials basically have two lists from which to work: a wish list and a resource list. The trick, obviously, is to prioritize the wish list and then compare it to the resource list.

Eudora city officials would be quick to tell you that is an oversimplification of the process, but you get the idea.

The Eudora City Council added an interesting item to its (preliminary) wish list this year and we think it deserves serious consideration.

During the most recent budget workshop, the council discussed the possibility of adding a city administrator to the municipal staff. A city administrator would oversee the day-to-day operations of the city, manage the city staff and coordinate things for the mayor.

We believe Eudora is ready for such a person. Running a city requires leadership. Much of those leadership responsibilities fall to City Clerk Donna Oleson and the individual department heads. Because the mayor serves in what is virtually a volunteer position, he or she is not expected to be immediately available during business hours.

A city administrator would alleviate much of that pressure and allow the paid staff to focus on the jobs they were hired to perform.

Former City Engineer Matt Taylor did a good job of keeping tabs on various city projects and updating the mayor and council on their progress. Taylor resigned his position several months ago but agreed to continue to work with the city as his projects were completed. As Taylor moves away from the position, the city needs to prepare for the void left by his absence.

It's time someone was accountable for running the business of the city. While the population isn't quite 6,300 as the welcome signs indicate, this town is big enough that a full-time administrator would have plenty to do. Relying on a volunteer council isn't fair to the citizens, and putting the burden on the staff without concise leadership isn't fair to Oleson or the department heads.

A part-time engineer may be a feasible solution, but not without a full-time person to handle the day-to-day problems associated with running a city.

We hope the city will look closely at hiring a full-time city administrator. It is a position, we believe, will eventually pay for itself.

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