Meeting at a glance
Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:
• Named Kendal Francis as the new city administrator.
• Approved a rezoning request from Richard “Scott” Reddig concerning real estate located in the three-mile radius surrounding the City of Great Bend. Ten acres of the approximately 40 acres in the subdivision southwest of Great Bend are earmarked for a nursing home and other senior housing options; other uses in the future would require city approval. Residents voiced concern about zoning being charged from multi-family residential to light manufacturing-service commercial.
• Tabled a proposed project to reconstruct Stone Street from 10th to 12th Street. An estimate from the city’s on-call engineering firm set the cost at up to $945,000. Interim City Administrator George Kolb said the estimate is probably high and the project could be paid for from last year’s quarter-cent sales tax fund that is designated for residential streets and the half-cent sales tax infrastructure fund that is used for streets and fire equipment.
• Approved a letter of support backing Rosewood Services’ application for the Kansas Department Of Commerce Community Service Tax Credit Program. If approved, the tax credit program would be used to remodel the old E&E Glass store on Williams Street and open the Rosewood Creations Center, said Anna Hammond-Bodine, director of development for Rosewood. This would allow for the introduction of new goods and a skills-learning center.
• Heard a report from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes.
• Approved a tree trimmers license for Sallee Tree Service (Trent Sallee) out of St. John.
Kendal Francis was named Great Bend’s next city administration on Monday during the city council meeting. Francis, who previously served as city manager in Coffeyville and city administrator in Lakin, said he’s already found a place to live and will start his new job in two weeks.
While several audience members stayed to learn who would be named the city top administrator, a larger crowd was there earlier to hear the outcome of a zoning question.
Audience members applauded the appointment of Francis when it was made by Mayor Joe Andrasek and also applauded a few minutes later when councilman Joel Jackson suggested longtime City Administrator Howard Partington and Interim City Administration George Kolb were deserving of thanks. Partington was in the audience and Jackson noted he left the city in stable shape when he retired last year.
Kolb is required to give the city 30 days notice before terminating his contract and with the new administrator chosen he did so. Although his last day will be Aug. 17, he and Francis both indicated he might leave sooner if Francis’ transition into the position goes smoothly. Francis said he is ready to “hit the ground running” with his new job.
“I’m honored, blessed to be here and I’m ready to get to work,” he said.
Kolb also told the council, “It’s been a pleasure working here; it’s been an honor to serve as your administrator.
The council voted 8-0 to approve the mayor’s appointment.
About the search
Partington retired on Aug. 16, 2017, after 36 years of working for the city. Kolb, a retired city administrator from Wichita, was hired as the interim city administrator in September.
In February, the city hired Slavin Management Consultants, based in Atlanta, Ga., to handle the search for a new administrator. Francis said Monday that he was under the impression that Slavin had received about 40 applications. The field was narrowed to three candidates in May.
Francis is a Beloit native who attended Cloud County Community College in Concordia and then Kansas State University in Manhattan. Back in Beloit, he worked 19 years for the water and wastewater utilities.
After rising through the ranks there, he ventured into city administration, first at Lakin then at Coffeyville. He recently resigned from the Coffeyville position.