Eudora’s short history with city administrators has been rocky. The first person in the position, Mike Yanez, left Eudora in 2005 for Tonganoxie, with every appearance he departed with three council members disappointed they didn’t have the opportunity to fire him. After his departure, the city council hired Cheryl Beatty in 2005. She, like Yanez, was in the post for three years and one change of mayor.
Beatty had the trust of then Mayor Tom Pyle, whom she visited when she first came to Eudora to apply for the open position. But others on the council didn’t share his enthusiasm, as witnessed by Beatty’s short suspension in the summer of 2007 and subsequent retraction of that action.
Just as the end of Ron Connor’s term as mayor made Yanez’s departure inevitable, so did Pyle’s defeat earlier this month make Beatty’s position untenable. Newly elected Mayor Scott Hopson was one of those council members with deep reservations. It is to Beatty’s credit she put a quick end to a relationship that obviously wasn’t going to work.
A city council, mayor and city administrator relationship is a complex one of policy and implementation. It requires teamwork and trust. The new mayor absolutely deserves to have someone in the position he sees as a team player.
The question now is how does Eudora arrive at the point. The city is in need of a qualified, professional city administrator. But the right individual may be difficult to attract given the city’s recent history. What needs to be rejected is any thought that the city doesn’t need a city administrator.
With its 6,000-plus population, Eudora is set to become a second-class city. We challenge anyone to find another second-class city in the state without a city administrator. At its current state of development there are myriad issues such as budget, debt service, insurance, intergovernmental relations, wage rates — and yes lawsuits — that are too time consuming and complex to be dealt with by individual department heads or elected officials. Someone has to have a grasp on all the strings of city government, and balance the demands and needs of its parts with an eye for the overall wellbeing.
It is crucial the council and mayor agree to a search and selection process that identifies a professional they all trust and all buy into the result.