Archive for Thursday, April 15, 2004

City administrator on board two more years

Council split on decision to extend Yanez’s contract

April 15, 2004

Eudora's first city administrator is back for another two years despite heated discussion among members of the Eudora City Council at its meeting Monday night.
The majority of the Council voted to extend Mike Yanez's contract for another two years. Council members Dan Gregg, Rex Burkhardt and Don Durkin voted in favor of the contract; Council members Tom Pyle and Scott Hopson dissented.
Mayor Ron Conner said it was not surprising that challenges would spring up during a city's first experience with an administrator.
"I think we continue to meet those challenges and have already met a lot of them," Conner said.
Part of the question was whether a two-year contract should be passed, because with elections coming up next April, the new Council and possibly new mayor would be locked in to this Council's decision, Pyle said.On the other hand, Council member Dan Gregg said having the institutional memory of an experienced city administrator would be a benefit.
"It takes a while to get your feet on the ground," he said. "I don't believe newly-elected officials can presume to come in here and know how it works."
Among Pyle and Hopson's concerns was the amount of money spent on engineering fees, including one expenditure that exceeded the administrator's authority -- an engineering study for a new public safety building.
Hopson also criticized Yanez's speed in expediting potentially money-saving projects for the city, his willingness to share information with the Council, and his rapport with city employees.
Yanez told the Council during his two years in Eudora he had few, if any, regrets.
"It's tough to make everybody happy," he said.
However, there were black-and-white policies for city employees that he enforced "to the letter," he said.
Hopson and Pyle critiqued the chain of command policy instituted last year that has department heads reporting to the city administrator rather than to Council members. Despite a motion to rescind the policy, the majority of the Council voted to keep the policy intact.
During his time in Eudora, Yanez said he had seen the city make great strides, crediting department heads and a forward-thinking Council. Yanez countered the belief he was in Eudora only to pad his resume. He conceded his job had become more difficult during his tenure in Eudora.
"It's getting harder to be city administrator than it used to be," he said. "It seems in the last few weeks I've had to fight harder to defend my people."

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