Editor’s note: This story appeared in the Ark Valley News regarding City Administrator Scott Hildebrand. Hildebrand is one of three candidates for the Great Bend city administrator job, along with Kendel Francis and Larry Collins. The Great Bend City Council has meet several times to discuss its pick, but no announcement has been made. Although he was limited in what he could say, Interim City Administrator George Kolb said the council “is close to a decision” and an announcement could come as early as Monday.
VALLEY CENTER – Scott Hildebrand is staying in Valley Center for now.
Hildebrand, Valley Center city administrator since June 2016, announced last week that he will not receive an offer for the same position in Great Bend, a larger town northwest of Valley Center.
Hildebrand, who said he was “a close second” among three finalists for the job, said he was happy to remain in Valley Center.
“I love my current job,” Hildebrand told the city council July 3.
Hildebrand said those feelings he has for his job in Valley Center likely caused Great Bend decision-makers to question his desire to move.
His announcement came a week before the Great Bend City Council met to discuss the job. The council left the July 10 meeting without announcing a decision, the Great Bend Tribune reported.
Hildebrand said last week that he wasn’t actively searching for job elsewhere. He said he met a Great Bend city department director last year and talked about the work he was doing in Valley Center. Hildebrand said the director recommended him to the city’s search firm.
“A recruiter called me, and the recruiter said, hey, we think you’d be a good fit,” Hildebrand said.
Hildebrand didn’t want the council or city staff to think he was disloyal to Valley Center by applying for the job.
“Somebody simply asked,” Hildebrand said. “They realized there was a passion and they simply asked. Don’t ever second-guess my dedication to Valley Center. It’s a great community, and I’m honored to serve here.”
The mayor and at least two council members said they were pleased Hildebrand would remain in Valley Center.
“I’m glad you were a close second, and I’m asking you to stay, if asking works,” said council member Gina Gregory.
Mayor Laurie Dove said Great Bend’s pursuit of Hildebrand is a testament to the work he is doing in Valley Center.
Ben Anderson, council member, agreed.
“I think it’s a good reflection on our city when cities are trying to recruit our staff,” Anderson said. “… That hasn’t happened here in a while … and that is a positive.”