Archive for Monday, September 25, 2006

City manager finalists all have Lawrence ties

September 25, 2006


City commissioners Sunday concluded a second day of closed-door interviews with the three finalists to become the community's next city manager.

"We'll be working to complete all the necessary steps in the hiring process before we make a job offer," Mayor Mike Amyx said. "We're going to be doing all the necessary background checks, and all the things you normally would do before you hire someone."

The finalists, announced Saturday evening, are R. Leon Churchill Jr., managing director for Reading, Pa.; David Corliss, Lawrence's interim city manager; and Dennis Taylor, city manager of Eugene, Ore.

Amyx said Sunday he still hopes the commission will be in a position to make a job offer by early October.

More information about the two outside candidates also became available Sunday, showing that all three have ties to Lawrence and Kansas University.

Taylor, 60, received a bachelor's degree from KU in 1968. He grew up in Topeka.

Prior to becoming city manager in Eugene in 2003, he led several cities in Montana as the top executive and had various administrative jobs in Montana state government, in addition to serving in the Marine Corps.

Taylor said Sunday that the Lawrence job had long been on his radar screen.

"I've always been attracted to the vitality of university communities and the young people," Taylor said. "I'm really attracted to Lawrence and the University of Kansas. It has a great downtown and continues to maintain a great quality of life.

"Really, I've always wanted to be the Lawrence city manager, but in the past 30 some years, you have only had two city managers. This really was my first realistic opportunity to apply."

Attempts to reach Churchill on Sunday were unsuccessful. According to a brief biography posted on an association Web site for city and county managers, Churchill is 44 years old.

Prior to becoming managing director of Reading in 2004, Churchill was town manager of Windsor, Conn., from 1999 to 2004 and an assistant city manager for Charlottesville, Va., from 1995 to 1998.

He's a 1987 graduate of KU's department of public administration. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia in 1984.

Corliss, 45, received his undergraduate degree, a master's in public administration and a law degree from KU. He's worked for the city since 1990 as assistant city manager, director of legal services and management analyst.

City commissioners are seeking a new city manager after Mike Wildgen ended his 16-year tenure by resigning in March.


ThomasJefferson 11 years, 7 months ago

I hope Lawrence gets a new manager with a creative management style. We've been stuck with the same style for over 35 years ever since Buford Watson was appointed. That means we need to stop promoting from within and bring in someone from outside such as Dennis Taylor from Eugene, Oregon.

gontek 11 years, 7 months ago

I want to point something out here. This is an old article, so maybe I'll bring this up again.

7/2005 We found an error in the water and sewer master plans. The error predicted a decline in lawrence population by 2010 and 2015. We thought, "this is an error. This can't be right."

10/2005 Due dilligence was done on determing the source of the population projection error. It was announced that developments in the city should stop, because the sewer system was at capacity.

2006 Mike Wildgen was let go by the city for failing to adaquetly plan for the city's future - essentially he takes the fall for this error.

2006 The Census Bureau determines the city's population is declining. Commission and Planning staff disagree with these numbers.

Now, here we are looking for a new manager, when it may be possible that the reasons for letting Mike go might actually be false. I like Mike. I think Corliss would be a good manager as well. Any of them would be.

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