Archive for Thursday, February 17, 2005

Voters should heed Conner’s challenge

February 17, 2005

It was reassuring that the Eudora City Council agreed Monday to start the search for a city administrator.

In was obvious outgoing Mayor Ron Conner didn't come to the meeting thinking the Council would agree to start a search. In his State of the City Address at Saturday's Eudora Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, Conner challenged the Council to start the search immediately. It is a positive sign the Council did just that.

The only concern is that those hiring the new administrator might not be those for whom that person will work. But the timeframe doesn't leave much chance of that.

The first part of any city administrator search is the routine solicitation and culling of resumes. Many cities leave that part of the process to professional headhunting firms or organizations such as the Kansas League of Municipalities. The process really becomes hands-on when the list is trimmed to the top candidates.

With less than seven weeks remaining before the election, the final list of candidates should be available just as the new City Council and mayor are seated. It will be up to those individuals to interview the remaining candidates and select the person right for the job. It is absolutely critical that those elected officials feel comfortable with and take ownership in that decision.

But comments Monday left open the possibility some on the future Council could envision running the city without an administrator. That would appear to be a large challenge and anyone entertaining the notion owes Eudorans an explanation of just how that would be done.

Who would coordinate and prioritize planning from the different departments in the face of constant growth, pull together annual budgets, meet with the many developers interested in coming to Eudora, and communicate with state agencies for opportunities or the challenges imposed by regulations? No one expects a part-time school board to make these kinds of decisions, and it shouldn't be expected of a part-time City Council with a $10 million budget.

In issuing his challenge to the Council, Conner also challenged residents to demand the city remain committed to the city administrator position. We would second that challenge.

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