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Great Bend City Office

Here’s a quick glance at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Authorized Mayor Joe Andrasek to sign the contract with Slavin Management Consultants as the company handling the search for the new Great Bend City Administrator for $15,505 plus expenses.
• Approved rough drafts of the revised social media policy and the all-new whistle-blower policy in the employee handbook. Final approval will take place when the council meets Feb. 19.
The existing social media policy focuses on Public Relations and those employees who manage social media sites for the city, Human Resources Director Randy Keasling said. The revised policy adds information for all staff related to their use of social media sites and if that use pertains to their job and the City of Great Bend.
The whistle-blower policy is a new policy that is not in the current employee handbook, Keasling said.
Once approved, the policies will be placed on the consent agenda for the next meeting as an amendment to the Employee Handbook
• Authorized the mayor to sign the 2018 Federal Fund Exchange Supplemental Agreement. This program allows the city to exchange federal funds for state funds, thus affording the city greater flexibility with the types of repair work it can perform on streets. The state keeps 25 percent of the funds in the exchange for administrative costs, engineering technician Karl Otter said. The city has participated in this program since its inception several years ago.
The portion kept by the state is up from 10 percent last year, Otter said. The state is not required to release the funds to the municipalities, but does so because it is to the state’s benefit to keep roads in good condition.
The amount Great Bend will receive has not been determined, Otter said. Last year, the city’s portion was about $160,000.
• Heard the 2018 annual report from Curtis Wolf, director of the Kansas Wetlands Education Center.
He praised the city’s and the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau’s on-going partnership with the center since it first opened nine years ago, which has included the city’s funding of the KWEC water line, involvement with programing and the continued promotion/marketing of the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway.
• Approved the mayor signing the Great Bend Fire Department township fire contracts. Each year the contracts with the four townships (Great Bend for $60,147, Liberty for $17,969, South Bend for $22,718 and Buffalo for $27,872) that the city provides fire protection to are renewed.
These annual contracts lock the prices in for five years. They can next be renegotiated in 2020.
• Approved a tree trimmers license for Sallee Tree Service from St. John.
• Approved a garbage and refuse collector license for Anspaugh Waste Service LLC from Great Bend.
• Approved abatements at: 1438 17th St., motor vehicle nuisance, owned by Joseph and Cynthia Farris; 805 Adams St., accumulation of refuse, owned by Matthew and Agata Hearn; 518 Odell St., accumulation of refuse, owned by Consuelo and Villa Cesar Cardenas (this is the second time since last April this property has been abated); and 1709 Holland St., motor vehicle nuisance, owned by TMS Rentals.

The search for a new city administrator has begun.
A split Great Bend City Council Monday night authorized Mayor Joe Andrasek to sign the contract with Slavin Management Consultants to handle the search. The city will pay the Atlanta, Ga.-based firm $15,505 plus expenses including consultant travel, office costs and advertising with those additional costs not to exceed $7,752 (travel expenses for finalist visits to Great Bend are not included).
However, “this is something we should be doing here,” Councilman Brock McPherson said. An in-house search could involve Human Resources Director Randy Keasling, the city’s search committee and tapping regional trade journals for classified advertising.
An outside headhunter was sought due to the importance and highly technical nature of the position, Keasling said. No one currently with the city has the experience to handle such a search and, besides, the administrator would be Keasling’s boss.
But, “we’re spending taxpayer dollars,” McPherson said. “We are doing our constituents a disservice.”
“I disagree,” Councilwoman Jolene Biggs said. “This is a big position. Our last administrator was here for a long time.”
She said many on the council have hired employees before, none of these were on this scale. “Sometimes, you get what you pay for.”
Andrasek said he saw both sides, but agreed with Biggs. “I want what’s best for our city.”
With opposition from both councilmen Andy Erb and Cory Zimmerman who joined with McPherson, the measure passed 4-3. Biggs, Cory Urban, Joel Jackson and Vicki Berryman voted yes.

The proposal
Keasling said three proposals were submitted. The Search Committee consisting of Andrasek, councilmembers Biggs and Dan Heath, Interim City Administrator George Kolb, City Attorney Bob Suelter and Keasling met initially to discuss the three proposals.
One proposal was rejected due to lack of experience, only having handled two administrator searches. The committee then met one week later to speak with each of the other two companies. After interviewing both companies, the committee is recommending Slavin Management Consultants. Slavin has a 30-plus year history of successful recruitment. The in-depth discussion about their process and how they would handle the search was impressive to all committee members.
Slavin also makes the guarantee that if the new administrator leaves within the first two years, it will come back and do another search at no cost to us except their expenses. The other company had handled many successful placements but the committee felt its approach was not as in depth and did not make a guarantee on additional search responsibilities if the new Administrator would leave within two years.
SMC will start its search in Kansas before looking elsewhere, Andrasek said.
According to SMC’s proposal, it will meet with the mayor and city council members and department directors to learn about the city’s needs and culture. Also, it will provide options for additional external and internal stakeholder involvement.
Finally, SMC will receive a guided tour of the community. These meetings and tour as well as independent research conducted by SMC about the community and position will help SMC determine the unique challenges facing next city administrator. This will allow an accurate description of the desired professional.
Once SMC has gained sufficient information, it will prepare a draft recruitment profile and review it with the mayor and city council for approval. The profile will include information about the Great Bend community, city government, issues and opportunities to be managed by the next city administrator, and the job requirements and selection criteria.
The firm notes it will conduct a national recruitment for qualified candidates, tapping its database of candidates, professional local government management network, advertisements in national professional publications and regional publications and and sending the recruitment profile to persons who have the requisite experience.
It will submit a written progress report on the semifinalists and meet with the client to discuss this report. Typically 10-15 semifinalists are included in the progress report.
The progress report will summarize each semifinalists’ experience and education. The report will also include a screening of semifinalists against the selection criteria and job requirements contained in the recruitment profile.
The company will also conduct background investigations and site visits on the finalists. In order to better assess the finalists’ management style and interpersonal characteristics, SMC will personally interview each in his or her present work environment while protecting the finalists’ confidentiality. SMC will closely examine each finalist’s experience, achievements, management style, and interpersonal skills in relation to the recruitment profile’s selection criteria.
In addition, SMC will assist in developing the interview process; provide information about trends in employment, employment agreements, and relocation expenses; facilitate negotiation of the selected candidate’s compensation package; and follow-up with the mayor and the new city administrator six and 12 months after the selected candidate has been employed to evaluate the success of the placement.

Background
The council appointed Kolb of Wichita on Sept. 18 of last year. City Attorney Bob Suelter had been acting as the short-term interim city administrator until a more long-term administrator could be found.
The appointment was necessitated by the sudden Aug. 16 retirement of long-time City Administrator Howard Partington who had been with the city for 36 years. Partington cited stress caused by the flap between now resigned Police Chief Clifton Couch and the city as the reason for his departure.