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Archive for Sunday, September 22, 2002

Services keep city going

September 22, 2002

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There are few people in Lawrence whose lives aren't touched by the city's nearly 800 municipal employees.

They provide streets to drive on and try to keep them free of crime. They treat water thousands of people drink, and they treat sewage before it is released into the Kansas River.

They build parks and playgrounds, make sure that new homes are built safely and investigate when city residents claim they have been discriminated against.

They do it under the direction of City Manager Mike Wildgen, the only city employee hired by the Lawrence City Commission. Wildgen's phone number is 832-3400.

David Corliss and Debbie Van Saun, the two assistant city managers, help supervise 13 city departments.

Administrative Services: This department is the first call for bars, restaurants and other businesses needing licenses. It handles all official city records. And through its risk management division, the department also processes damage claims against the city.

Frank Reeb, city clerk, is the city's director of administrative services, 832-3200.

Finance: This department handles the city's checking account, pays the bills, issues bonds to finance projects and watches the bottom line. It also sends out the city's utility bills.

Ed Mullins is the director, 832-3213.

Human Relations/Human Resources: This department is the city's agency for civil rights enforcement. It investigates complaints from people who believe they have been the victims of discrimination. Such discrimination can be based on race, sex, religion, color, national origin, age, ancestry, sexual orientation or disability. And it can involve employment, housing or public accommodations. The department also reviews city contracts and hiring practices to ensure compliance with the law and the city's goals.

Ray Samuel directs the department, 832-3310.

Information Systems: This department handles the city's computer, telephone and geographic information systems.

Ron Hall is the director, 832-3320.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical: This department puts out fires, cleans up hazardous material spills in Lawrence and responds to medical emergencies countywide.

Jim McSwain is the department chief, 832-7600.

Legal Services: This is the in-house legal staff for the city. Its members write ordinances, negotiate contracts, defend the city in court and oversee the condemnation of property for public projects. The department includes the city municipal court.

Assistant City Manager David Corliss is the director of legal services, 832-3400.

Neighborhood Resources: This department is responsible for the city's housing policies, including subsidized developments for affordable homes. The department allocates federal grants, including Community Development Block Grants. The city's building inspectors are assigned to this department as well. They inspect new construction to make sure it complies with the city's codes and existing properties.

Victor Torres is the department director, 832-3122. Barry Walthall is the inspections supervisor, 832-3103.

Parks and Recreation: This department supervises 3,206 acres in nearly 50 parks, six indoor recreation facilities and two cemeteries Oak Hill and Maple Grove. Its forestry division also maintains trees along the city's rights-of-way.

Fred DeVictor is the department director, 832-3450.

Planning: The Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Office is charged with guiding the city's growth and in-fill development. With the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission making policy recommendations to the Lawrence City Commission and Douglas County Commission, the department draws upon Horizon 2020, the city-county long-range plan, in administering regulations and policies.

Linda Finger is the planning director, 832-3150.

Police: Officers with the Lawrence Police Department are charged with enforcing the city's laws and responding to calls for help. The department also includes the city's animal control officers.

Police Chief Ron Olin is in charge of the department, 832-7501.

Public Transit: This department oversees the operation of the T, the citywide bus service.

Karin Rexroad is the public transit administrator, 832-3465.

Public Works: This department maintains the city streets, traffic signals, public buildings and the Kansas River levee. Its engineers approve plans for streets, sewers, sidewalks and drainage systems. It includes the city's stormwater engineer, who supervises the stormwater utility.

Chuck Soules is the department director, 832-3123.

Utilities: This department provides the city with clean drinking water and treats city sewage before releasing it into the Kansas River.

Roger Coffey is the director, 832-7800.

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