Archive for Thursday, February 10, 2005

Yanez resigns city’s top job

February 10, 2005

Eudora City Administrator Mike Yanez announced Wednesday that he will resign from his position with the city of Eudora to pursue a similar position with the city of Tonganoxie.

Yanez, who was hired as Eudora's first city administrator, cited a "change in political landscape" as the motivation for his resignation.

The change he referred to was the upcoming absence from city government of Mayor Ron Conner and City Councilmen Rex Burkhardt and Don Durkin, whose terms will expire this year. None of them are seeking re-election.

"I have enjoyed working with Mayor Conner," Yanez said. "I think he is the most honorable elected official I have ever worked with . . . He's a man with a high level of statesmanship and civility, with a true heart for the community."

Yanez said Conner had always been supportive of the city administrator.

"He has been an excellent ally for this office," Yanez said.

Yanez was hired as the city's first city administrator in July 2002. He said one reason he chose to leave after two-and-a-half years was out of concern for the camaraderie between the governing body and the city administrator.

"Whether the positive chemistry will continue is certainly for the newly elected officials and any new administrator to determine," he said.

Yanez said being Eudora's first city administrator overwhelming at times, but that he thought he had a good handle on it. He said part of his job had been to familiarize the governing body, city staff and the public with the functions of a city administrator.

"We've certainly shown the worth of having a city administrator and what can be accomplished," Yanez said.

In his time with Eudora, Yanez said he could be proud of how the city was able to get a handle on development, helping to put the Council, Planning Commission and developers in a position to better deal with growth. He said he had also made it a priority to serve as a liaison between the public and the city government.

"We established a good procedure for the staff and the public to interact with the governing body," Yanez said. "Usually the administrator's office is a middleman for communication and negotiation."

Mayor Ron Conner said he was saddened by Yanez's decision.

"I think he did an excellent job," he said. "Obviously, his being the city's first administrator, we all knew going in it there would be adjustments to be made, I think he handled it well."

Yanez improved the day-to-day delivery of city services, was a point person for developers and others interested in the city and gave elected officials more time to consider policy and the "big picture" by taking care of day-to-day operations, Conner said.

Those were duties of great benefit to a growing Eudora, Connor said, but conceded there may be those on the City Council with different sentiments. The mayor said he would attempt to get a gauge to the depth of those feelings at Monday's City Council meeting with the recommendation the search of Yanez's replacement start immediately.

"I don't know if it's a personality conflict or an opinion there that we don't need a city administrator," he said. "I hope we get that clarified in the next week or so."

Yanez said his contract requires 60 days notice, but that he will request that the city allow him to move to his new position in Tonganoxie sooner.

Tonganoxie Mayor Dave Taylor said Wednesday that he plans to appoint Yanez as city administrator at next Monday's regular city council meeting.

Taylor said he believes Yanez, who was chosen from among 27 applicants, is knowledgeable about the workings of city government.

"And I think he'll work well with the city council, the work crews and city staff. It seems like he's conscious of the public. I think one thing that really attracted me to him was he wanted to meet all of the downtown business owners. He wanted to promote the downtown. Beside his knowledge of being a city administrator, I like the idea that he won't just sit behind his desk. He'll get out and meet the people and be part of the community."

If the council approves Taylor's appointment, Yanez would succeed Shane Krull, whose last day on the job was Dec. 10. Krull left Tonganoxie city government after accepting the position of county administrator for Miami County in Paola.

Caroline Trowbridge (ctrowbridge@mail.ljworld.com) and Elvyn J. Jones (ejones@newsmwc.com) contributed to this story.

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