Archive for Thursday, February 17, 2005

City Council will look for new administrator

February 17, 2005

The days of Mike Yanez and the city of Eudora are numbered.

The Eudora City Council voted Monday to shorten the remainder of Yanez's employment as city administrator from 60 days to 45 days. The count started when he submitted notice Feb. 8 that he would take a similar position with the city of Tonganoxie. His last day on the job will be March 24.

The city administrator's contract requires 60 days notice, but with the exception of Scott Hopson, City Council members voted in favor of shortening Yanez's notice to 45 days. It was a meet-in-the-middle approach to Yanez's request of 30 days.

Hopson cited excerpts from Yanez's own resignation letter stating the importance of having an administrator as his reason for opposing Yanez's early departure.

"I don't see that we could let Mike out of his contract before 60 days," Hopson said.

Yanez has 20 vacation days accumulated that he could use at the end of his employment but told Council members he would keep working as long as he was asked to. He said he would cash out those vacation days when he leaves, rather than using them to leave sooner.

Yanez was hired in July 2002 as the city's first administrator. Since then he has served as a liaison between the public and the governing body while managing city staff in day-to-day operations. He also has worked closely with developers.

"Mike has truly made an elected officer's job easier by dealing with all the development coming through the door," said Councilman Rex Burkhardt.

The governing body considered 26 applications before choosing Yanez for the job. The city used the services of the Kansas League of Municipalities in the 2002 city administrator search.

Councilman Tom Pyle suggested Monday the city begin advertising right away for a new administrator. In 2002, the search took four months before Yanez was hired.

There was some concern at the meeting that after the upcoming mayoral and City Council election, the new governing body might not be supportive of continuing to employ a city administrator.

Councilman Dan Gregg asked Pyle, who is running unopposed for mayor, if he endorsed the city administrator position Pyle said he was in favor of supporting the position "at the present moment," but could not say whether he would continue to support it as mayor.

Gregg said that not hiring a new city administrator would be a "massive step backward."

Burkhardt, who is not seeking re-election to his Council seat, shared that sentiment. He said that not keeping an administrator would be a "ridiculous idea."

"When you don't have a chain of command, you have no communication," Burkhardt said. "You have chaos."

The Council ultimately voted 4-1 to start the recruitment process to find a new city administrator. Hopson's was the one dissenting vote.

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