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Archive for Saturday, July 22, 2006

Wanted: City manager who’s a strong leader

Commission starts advertising nationally to fill top position

July 22, 2006

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City commissioners are now advertising nationwide for a city manager, and they agree that the next person needs to do far more than just manage.

"There really is a big difference between being a manager and being a leader," City Commissioner Sue Hack said. "I really do want the next city manager to be a leader."

Mayor Mike Amyx announced Friday that the city is now accepting applications for the position, which became open after the forced resignation in March of 16-year city manager Mike Wildgen. Commissioners will accept applications through Aug. 25, and expect to conduct interviews in late September.

"The next city manager will have to understand that they are a very important part of the decision-making process," Amyx said.

It probably will take a unique individual who can both advise commissioners and implement their decisions, said City Commissioner Boog Highberger.

"It will be a tricky balance," Highberger said. "The elected officials need to set the policy, but I think we're looking for somebody who will take the policy direction and actively implement, but also be on the lookout for ways for us to improve.

"In some ways it might be a riskier position than some people may want to take, but I think it is what we need."

The position will be advertised with a starting salary of $120,000 to $135,000. Wildgen was making an annual salary of $125,000 when he resigned.

Amyx also released a six-page document that commissioners drafted to describe the community and the challenges of the position for potential applicants. Among the points made in the document:

¢ Economic development issues are "driving" the current agenda of the city.

¢ The city manager must become a "more visible" participant in working with various groups in the community. The city manager will "step into an arena of smart players including well-funded developers, the University of Kansas, Haskell Indian Nations University and neighborhood associations. All these and more are engaged in a complicated dance shaping the community for years to come."

¢ The successful candidate should have 10 years of experience of leading a comparable organization. The "intensity of the community will not allow for a learning curve," commissioners stated.

¢ The next city manager should be a "pragmatic thinker with a vision for integrating and implementing smart growth principles."

¢ The city manager will be expected to be someone "capable of advocating for growth and management at the same time."

¢ He or she also will be comfortable working in a growing metropolitan area that is "not entirely comfortable with the direction it is going."

¢ Commissioners are insisting on a person with strong professional values and ethics, and who is "politically neutral, but actively engaged in the political process."

Comments

lunacydetector 8 years, 6 months ago

highberger: "we're looking for somebody who will take the policy direction and actively implement"

a possible translation perhaps?: "we're looking for somebody who belongs to the "progressive" religion. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

if economic development is a major priority then lawrence shouldn't be so damn restrictive towards businesses, after all - a living wage means ZERO wage. ZERO net jobs in the past 5 years? affordable housing? where is it? heard something was going to be done about it 5 years ago. actions speak louder than words!

lawrence, kansas business UNfriendly

we live on a nice little sinking island, don't we?

Susan Mangan 8 years, 6 months ago

"¢ Commissioners are insisting on a person with strong professional values and ethics, and who is "politically neutral, but actively engaged in the political process.""

Well...at least this ensures that we won't be getting any current City Kommissioners.

lunacydetector 8 years, 6 months ago

my favorite parts:
"He or she also will be comfortable working in a growing metropolitan area that is "not entirely comfortable with the direction it is going." - that should be a BIG turn-on for any potential city manager - bwahahahaha

.......the commissioners have only had 5 years to impliment their hardcore line of "smart growth" principles (it ain't working folks) "The next city manager should be a "pragmatic thinker with a vision for integrating and implementing smart growth principles." .......in other words, keep on track for a total Portlandization of lawrence.

HDcustom 8 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

lunacydetector 8 years, 6 months ago

google search: "City manager" employment "Lawrence, Kansas"

results list: 1 thru 666

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=%22City+manager%22+employment+%22Lawrence%2C+Kansas%22

if our new city manager's name is Damian look out.

Godot 8 years, 6 months ago

One cannot be "committed to smart growth" and "politically neutral" at the same time.

Only a certified megalomaniac would agree to take on this job.

Godot 8 years, 6 months ago

I hear Bill Clinton is out of work; someone should email this link to him.

rayikeo 8 years, 6 months ago

Maybe now is the time to change the form of government that Lawrence is using. Instead of electing new commissioners every 2 or 4 years with thier own personal agendas to install and then leave office. Then electing a mayor from these commissioners without public input, the city needs something different. Isn't Lawrence large enough for a new permanent system?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 6 months ago

I don't claim to be saying anything of import with "Filberts!"

But amazingly, vacuous wonders like you think that there is some sort of useful content in your random association of words.

Rationalanimal 8 years, 6 months ago

Sorry guys, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle died years ago. Between N. Korea and China, Lenin and Marx are booked for the next 50 years. Looks like you'll have to settle for a very qualified and competent David Corliss.

More road and infrastructure work has been done under Dave Corliss in 4 months than has happened in the last 10 years.

Why are the City Communishers so averse to a rational voice instead of wanting a minion of the progressive movement. I thought diversity was a good thing among the elite liberalites.

And lastly, if prequalification is such a sticking point, I'm not sure a barber, school teacher, grocery clerk and 2 mediocre lawyers make up even half a brain. Although, we do live near the Land of Oz.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 6 months ago

"More road and infrastructure work has been done under Dave Corliss in 4 months than has happened in the last 10 years."

I'm trying to remember who put him into the job. Can you help me out there, rationalanimal?

Rationalanimal 8 years, 6 months ago

Bozo the spectacular wrote:

"'More road and infrastructure work has been done under Dave Corliss in 4 months than has happened in the last 10 years.'

I'm trying to remember who put him into the job. Can you help me out there, rationalanimal?"


Your point has no relevance to the fact that more infrastructure repair and maintenance has been done by David Corliss than many previous City Managers. This only supports the proposition that David Corliss is competent. It does not by itself support the additional proposition that the Communishers are competent, as your comment implies.

The fact that the Communishers are looking for a City Manager when they've got a good one right here at home is prima facie evidence they are more interested in a Socialist-glam-boy than someone that really knows how to run a city. It simultaneously demonstrates their incompetence since they would prefer an idealogue over someone that can manage a city. The job description is "City Manager", it is not "City Political Leader" as the Communishers have effectively made it. Again, your comment is irrelvant as you have couched it in reference to mine. Can you help me out there, bozo?

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 6 months ago

I would like to nominate Marion for this position. Marion, will you throw your hat in this ring, please?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm sure they will welcome his application, now that applications are being accepted, and his performance over the last several months will certainly be considered when they select the permanent city manager.

"Can you help me out there, bozo?"

You need a mircle, rationanimal. That's way out of my league.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 6 months ago

"The biggest problem would be that under my tenure the unemployment lines would grow due to the cleaning out of the excess baggage and incompetents from City Hall."

Well, you'd would definitely be a leader, given that you'd clearly belong at the head of that line.

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 6 months ago

OK, you "could do a pretty good job." You would actively recruit businesses. You would eliminate "excess baggage and incompetence" from the rank and file of City service. So, put your money where your mouth is. No more of this "ah, shucks, not little ol' me" routine. Put in for the position. What's the worst they can say, "No, thanks"? You have some very clear ideas on necessary changes and opportunities for improvement. Ask for the opportunity to do those things.

Rationalanimal 8 years, 6 months ago

Bozo the spectacular wrote, in relevant part:

"You need a mircle, rationanimal. That's way out of my league."


I knot no familyar wyth what "mircle" is. Is that some kind of socialist/liberal code? Maybe I missed that day in "Hooked on Phonics," perhaps it was taught in "Ebonics 101," which I missed altogether. Or perhaps a "mircle" is a digression from substantive logic to the basement of drive-by sarcasm lacking substantive arguments.

roodle 8 years, 6 months ago

the city manager should be most fearful of entering a community the sustains such microbrains as those who post their onesided, uneducated and ignorant comments on this board.

Godot 8 years, 6 months ago

Better yet, recruit Kofi Annan. His term is up in December. Now, there's a guy who has leadership ability, who has a vision, who can be politically neutral, and, man-o-man, what a great fiscal manager he is. He is also very adept at reducing the population in over crowded areas; just look at Darfur.

justsomewench 8 years, 6 months ago

now, mike, how many times must we go over this:

your last name is spelled r-u-n-d-l-e not "roodle". sigh

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 6 months ago

roodle barked out "the city manager should be most fearful of entering a community the sustains such microbrains as those who post their onesided, uneducated and ignorant comments on this board."

I resemble that remark.

jayhawkbarrister 8 years, 6 months ago

This job description requires someone insane or at least a schizoid personality. Be a leader, but take direction. Be comfortable in an urban environment, but not entirely comfortable. Be politically neutral, but politically engaged. Be pragmatic, but in a visionary sort of way. Or be a visionary, in a pragmatic sense of the word. Be a visible participant, but prepared to follow if someone dances some other way. Be an advocate, but also be a manager.

This job description is a recipe for disaster. Who ever takes the job should plan on updating his or her CV within 12 months. Al Bohl's tenure will appear to be lengthy compared to this person's stay.

I simply end with this admonition and prediction: We will have a commission election in 2007 and the most important issue will not be the election of the commissioners, or smart growth or infrastructure or development, but electing the people who will interview the next person for the city manager's job, recently vacated after the brief period of employ of some schizoid who fits this bill.

dviper 8 years, 6 months ago

Anyone from outside of the local area applying for the city manager job is in for a rude and harsh awakening if they are eventually hired. The reality is that this current PLC majority commission will hire a person of their same idealogy. This will probably lead to the new city manager being fired by the next elected city commission that isn't tainted by the PLC extremist Liberals.

Marion (poster) is correct in his assessment of some city employees and the need to clean out the excess baggage and incompetents from City Hall. There are now numerous city employees chanting the same 'new urbanism' and 'smart (no) growth' crap pushed by the PLC commission clowns and thier core supporters like poster Bozo.

Take for example the traffic safety commission and some of the city traffic engineers. They continue to think roundabouts and traffic circles are the solution to every traffic situation / problem / complaint. It is past time and several million dollars wasted, to terminate these peoples employment and remove the appointed cronies from the various commissions.

Another example is the planning commission. There is one particular commissioner (Rundle's appointed puppet) who is openly discrimantory towards anything that does not fit the PLC extreme Liberal idealogy. This commissioner has made discriminatory, biased, and bigoted statements and comments that would have gotten him fired in any private sector company.

Another problem that is wasting time, resources and money is the ultra micro management by the city commission. They are constantly discussing insignificant items that the city manager and his staff should take care of as standard routine business practice. They are constantly delaying decisions, asking for more studies and asking city employees to to research more 'possibilities'. They could care less that their delaying actions are costing current businesses thousands of dollars everyday because of their non action, as well as wasting city resources and taxpayer money.

These commissioners are so far into the weeds, and the scary thing is they don't even know it. Of course their solution (other than roundabouts) is to raise taxes and spend more of the taxpayers hard earned money to support their failed extremists Liberal idealogy. They don't know what a strategic vision is, yet alone know how to establish one with valid supporting goals and objectives. They are just haphazardly running this city into the ground.

As far as attracting new businesses to Lawrence that pay above average salaries,: forget it. Any credible and knowledgeable business person after meeting the five city commisioners would leave laughing their a$$es off.

anonimiss 8 years, 6 months ago

Running the city into the ground is the only way to stop the growth. They know it, knew it for a while. It's why they're doing it. Their impact will be felt for years after they're gone. Growth will only ramp back up after the commissioners are gone, their appointments gone, their mistakes fixed, and everything is normal again.

justsomewench 8 years, 6 months ago

and just which administration are you referring to?

(yes, virginia, that was a rhetorical question).

Godot 8 years, 6 months ago

Why don't the people who don't like cities that are growing, that don't like lots of other people around, that want to be able to walk everywhere and not be bothered by cars, just move to one of the Kansas towns that has already died? Why are they intent on killing this town?

dviper 8 years, 6 months ago

plumberscrack-

Give it a rest, with the speculation. As usual you are wrong.

Could it be that you're a city employee that falls into the incompetent category, or just another extremist Liberal PLC supporter?

jogger 8 years, 6 months ago

Our new city manager should also avoid questionable associations with families of known criminals, shaky real estate arrangements with the same families, and ask the commission to take control of issues that lend themselves to conflict of interest. Most people in Lawrence do not realize that we are basically hiring a king, not a servant, and the concentration of power in this position is ominous. A strong commission would allow political response to popular needs, rather than sole control of power in Lawrence. When this commission steps down, elections will still not change the actions of a 'manager' with personal control of the police department.

bizarre 8 years, 6 months ago

The problem here is Lawrence is growing into a big city and is still being run like a small town!

We have 6 Commissioners that make decisions for the entire city. They are the only ones that many public officials have to answer to, and this can breed corruption.

Problem is the commissioners often have their own needs or agenda, which is why they became commissioners in the first place.

Most important is the lack of voting structure in this town. The public stands by, can circulate signiture ballots, but have a right to vote on very few of the issues in Lawrence! Issues that in a big city would only be decided by a voting community. (heck) We dont even elect our Mayor!

bizarre 8 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps the biggest problem with finding a new city manager is the level of corruption that will be handed down to him/her.

Example; one way a city can hide corruption or money laundering is to build round-abouts. It costs the city roughly $60K to build one round-about, but the administration cost can exceed $160K per unit. This is becomming one of the most widely used ways small towns and cities are filtering the corrupt money through the system.

(This fact is taken from the Business Law and Legal environment college level study book.)

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