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Local attorneys retained to replace retiring Bob Suelter
Two lawyers will fill roles of attorney and prosecutor
allen glendenning
Great Bend Attorney Allen Glendenning of Watkins Calcara addresses the City Council Monday night. He and Jeffrey Kuhlman, of the same firm, were retained to fill positions to be open after City Attorney Bob Suelter retires in November. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

City Attorney Bob Suelter retiring, reception planned.

Longtime Great Bend City Attorney Bob Suelter will retire as of Nov. 12. A come-and-go reception is planned for him from 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, at the Great Bend Municipal Court, 1217 Williams St.

Suelter started working for the city in June 1979. “It’s been a long time,” he said. But, “it has gone by fast.”

With the retirement of longtime City Attorney Bob Suelter looming Nov. 12, the Great Bend City Council Monday night approved retaining a pair of attorneys from the local firm Watkins Calcara to fill the void.

The city recently requested requests for qualifications for the positions of city attorney and city prosecutor, City Administrator Kendal Francis said. Staff reviewed the proposals and interviews took place last Wednesday and Thursday, and Francis said they recommended Allen Glendenning and Jeffry Kuhlman.  

The council agreed.

Glendenning will serve in the city attorney role and Jeffrey Kuhlmnan in the city prosecutor role. Both will be paid $7,000 per month as a retainer for 40 hours per month each.

“This would include attendance at City Council meetings. It also includes a weekly four hours of contiguous time in City Hall,” Francis said. This is so they would be available to meet with staff and take care of the normal business. 

Beyond that time, they would bill the city at the firm’s regular hourly rate, he said.

Some on the council wondered if the 40 hours would be enough. “I honestly do,” Francis said. 

Now, he said Suelter serves as more than just city attorney. City personnel go to him with other questions as well.

“I think a it will be a little bit of a learning curve for our staff,” he said. “We have to remember that we can’t just run to Bob for the answers.”

The attorneys will provide “basic attorney services,” Francis said. These include reviewing contracts, reading resolutions and ordinances, giving advice on personnel matters, and the like. 

“Four hours a week, physically here in the in the office, will suffice,” he said.

Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Approved the 2021 water conservation ordinance.

When applying for the State Revolving Loan it was brought to the city’s attention the current water conservation plan and ordinance were outdated. It was requested by the state to update the plan and ordinance. 

Public Works Director Jason Cauley contacted the Kansas Rural Water Association which assisted in drafting a revision of both items which were then sent to the Division of Water Resources.  

• Approved the rezoning of property for the planned new Police Station at 12th and Baker.

The city has requested that the real estate on Baker between 11th and 12th streets be rezoned from C-1 (local commercial) to C-3 (central business). This is the proposed location of the new police department. 

The C-1 zone requires front yard setbacks of 25 feet, rear yard setbacks of 20 feet and side yard setbacks of 10 feet if adjacent to residential property, City Attorney Bob Suelter said. The proposed building may be constructed to the property line in the front yard. The C-3 zone allows building to the front property line. There are no residential structures adjacent, so the side yard setbacks do not apply. 

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on this matter and recommended approval, Suelter said. There were no interested parties attending the meeting on this issue other than city staff.  

• Approved a small-cell agreement with Cox Communications.

Cox proposed the agreement to allow the placement of small-cell facilities on city right of ways. State law allows for this without municipalities having much authority to regulate them, City Administrator Kendal Francis said. However, Cox does prefer to have agreements in place. 

The agreement provides for a franchise fee payment of $150 per year per attachment for the attachment of wireless equipment to support the installations within the city on city-owned infrastructure. The devices, about the size of a toaster, can be mounted on cable lines or street light posts and are used to help take the strain off of cell towers.

City Attorney Bob Suelter has reviewed the agreement and finds it to be in order, Francis said.  

• Approved an ordinance allowing a temporary premise extension for Dry Lake Brewery. This includes closing the ally right behind the business at 1305 Main and extending into the city-owned parking lot.

The brewery requested the action for Oct. 30 to host a Halloween party. The event will include food trucks and Pumpkin Smash fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 

The consumption of alcohol is planned in the proposed space and the brewery is working with the State Alcoholic Beverage Control to obtain proper permits for this activity, City Administrator Kendal Francis said. In order to allow consumption of alcohol on public property, a city ordinance must be passed to exempt the public property from state statute.  

• Approved retaining Allen Glendenning as city attorney and Jeffery Kuhlmnan as city prosecutor. Both are with the local firm Watkins Calcara.

The city recently requested requests for qualifications for the positions of city attorney and city prosecutor, City Administrator Kendal Francis said. Staff reviewed the proposals and interviews were scheduled for last Wednesday and Thursday.  

• Heard a report from City Administrator Kendal Francis. He gave an update on abatement progress in the city thus far this year.

• Heard a progress report from Code Enforcement Officer Art Keffer.

• Approved closing Odell Street from 19th Street to 21st Street from 3-9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, for the Western Kansas Marching Band


• Approved closing Forest Avenue from Main Street to Williams Street from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, for the Sunflower

Diversified Services 5K Turkey Trot.

• Held a work session to discuss the bond process with David Arteberry of Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Incorporated of Wichita. This discussion centered around bonds and construction costs for the proposed new police station.