The comfort level is paying off for Bob Saunders, and a job well-done is paying off for Mike Wildgen.
The Lawrence City Commission unanimously approved a contract that puts Saunders in charge of the city's search for a new city manager. And the commission unanimously approved a $3,000 annual raise for Wildgen for as long as he continues carrying out the duties of acting city manager.
The commission's action came during its regular weekly meeting Tuesday night.
Saunders, a Liberty, Mo.-based management consultant, will provide his executive recruitment services to the commission, which is conducting a search for a permanent city manager in the wake of Buford Watson's death on Oct. 25. Saunders first gained commissioners' confidence in mid-October when he led them in a 24-hour retreat in Overland Park.
"IT SEEMS that there is a significant comfort level among this group working with (Saunders) to help us in our chore," Mayor Bob Schumm said. "I've got to say, too . . . that it is a tremendously large undertaking. We do need some help, and I believe this person is going to do a significant amount of work."
Schumm said he expected the search to begin in earnest after the holidays and expressed his hope that, with Saunders, the commission will be able to hire a permanent city manager by April.
The agreement calls for the city to pay Saunders $9,750 plus direct expenses, not to exceed $500 without prior approval of the commission. In return, Saunders will lead the commission through the search, screening, interview and selection process involved in hiring a city manager.
Later in the meeting, commissioners expressed their approval of Wildgen's interim performance by awarding him a raise. After meeting in executive session for five minutes, commissioners voted to extend a $3,000 raise and a $200 monthly automobile allotment retroactive to Watson's death for Wildgen's service as acting city manager.
The pay raise increases Wildgen's annual salary to $61,947. A 4 percent increase, which applies to all city employees beginning Jan. 1, will increase his salary to $64,425. Wildgen served as assistant city manager for 15 years under Watson.
IN OTHER action Tuesday, the commission:
Honored resident assistants and directors from Kansas University's Ellsworth Hall for their efforts toward fire safety and prevention.
In a single motion, commissioners unanimously approved the following consent agenda items:
Minutes from recent meetings of the Lawrence Housing Authority.
Payment of city expenses.
Setting 10 a.m. Dec. 27 as the date to receive bids for filtration system equipment for the municipal swimming pool.
Adopting an ordinance annexing 6.85 acres at Sixth and Wakarusa Drive.
Adopting an ordinance rezoning from RS-2 (single-family residence) and RS-1 (single-family residence) to RM-1 (multifamily residence) about 6.07 acres on the southeast corner of 15th Street and Inverness Drive.
Adopting an ordinance authorizing installation of a stop sign on Eldridge at Sixth Street.
Adopting a resolution declaring the city boundaries for 1989.
After removing the following items from the consent agenda for discussion, the commission:
Unanimously approved minutes from its most recent meeting and deferred for one week consideration of minutes from its Nov. 14 meeting.
Unanimously accepted the low bid of $11,341 from Weeks Construction for rehabilitation of 2727 Maverick Ln., and rejected bids for rehabilitation of 722 Belle Meade Pl. because they were over the engineer's estimate.
Unanimously set 10 a.m. Jan. 2 as the date to receive bids for the Voluntary Demolition Program.
Adopted on a 3-2 vote, with Schumm and Commissioner Mike Rundle dissenting, an ordinance rezoning from A (agricultural) and RS-1 (single-family residence) to PCD-2 (planned commercial development) 11.8 acres at the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive.
After discussing the following regular agenda items, the commission:
Unanimously approved a request from Youth in Local Government for $500 to assist in members to the Presidential Classroom in Washington, D.C. Six Lawrence High School students are scheduled to go to Washington for the program, and the city's funding will help pay their expenses.
Unanimously referred to the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Board a proposal that would allow the city to make an $8,000 allocation to the Salvation Army homeless shelter. The commission earlier had approved making the allocation out of CBDG funds, but the Salvation Army would not consent to an agreement drawn up by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which funds the CDBG program. The commission proposed giving $8,000 in general fund allocations originally set for Douglas County Legal Aid to the Salvation Army. The Legal Aid general fund allotment then would be replaced by the Salvation Army's $8,000 CDBG allocation.
Unanimously approved a site plan for Brandon Woods, Phase II.
UNANIMOUSLY approved a site plan for expansion of First Christian Church, 1000 Ky. The approval came after a lengthy discussion about whether to require the church to place a screening fence along the north end of its south parking lot. The lot abuts a residential rental property owned by James Dunn, and commissioners finally agreed to require a four-foot wooden fence to be placed by the church at the property line.
Unanimously approved a site plan for placement of an automatic teller machine at Capitol Federal Savings, 11th and Vermont.
Unanimously approved a site plan for Lawrence Baptist Temple, to be located at 3201 W. 31st.
Unanimously approved a text amendment to the zoning ordinance amending the definition of a "hotel" to permit suite-type accommodations.
UNANIMOUSLY directed the staff to compile a report for possible improvements on the northwest corner of 23rd and Massachusetts. Commissioners indicated they wanted to look at the cost of improving the area to match similar improvements on the northeast corner of the intersection.
Unanimously authorized the mayor to sign a letter encouraging support for funding of the Roger A. Hill Volunteer Center. The center is being formed as a "volunteer clearinghouse" to match volunteers with opportunities to share their talents and skills.
Set a commission tour of the Chelsea Group's Lawrence Riverfront Plaza for 1:15 p.m. Monday.