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Network administrator tackling IT issues
Police Department finally fully staffed, Fire Department close
positions filled pic.JPG
The City of Great Bend has come a long ways in filling vacant positions such as the network administrator. This also includes openings in the Police Department.

From the hard-to-fill network administrator post to Police and Fire departments openings, there was a lot of good news on filling vacant City of Great Bend positions when the City Council met Monday night.

First, Human Resource Director Randy Keasling said James Cell network administrator is off to a strong start as the network administrator. He has been meeting with staff and Department Heads and has already handled several issues that had been on hold until his arrival.  

“We are happy he has joined us and look forward to all he will be able to bring to this position,” Keasling said of Cell who started last month. This is a key post as the city contends with upgrading computers and cybersecurity.

Keasling outlined Cell’s priorities. They include researching solutions to get the city on the same network, server redundancy and firewalls, off-site backup with redundancy, updating and securing email. 

Cell has been working in the internet technology field for over 15 years, Keasling said. Before starting with the city, he was a desktop analyst for Hays Medical Center where he was responsible for a multitude of tasks at HMC, St. Rose, and Pawnee Valley Medical Center. 

Prior to that, Cell worked  at BMI finishing his 11 year career with them as the IT manager. He holds a bachelor of science degree in information networking and telecommunications with a minor in business and is currently working towards a master’s degree in cybersecurity. A Great Bend native, he and his family keep busy with various after-school activities, travel, and time with friends and family.


Other positions

• On Sept. 27, Craig Ramsey began work with the GBPD as a police officer, Police Chief David Bailey reported. With that employment, GBPD became fully staffed with 33 certified police officers.  

“My understanding is this is the first time in quite a number of years (the department has had a full staff),” Keasling said. “A thank you to Chief Bailey, Capt. (Scott) Bieberle and those who have helped on the interview panels for making this happen.”

• Currently the city is down to one open position in the Fire Department but there are several candidates. Keasling also thanked Fire Chief Luke McCormick and those in the department who have served on interview panels and helped with the testing process for applicants.  

McCormick said he has hired three new recruits. They have all completed their recruit training and started on their shifts on Sept. 31.

• Simon Wiley has been hired as assistant director of public works. 

Wiley comes to us from Greenwood, Ark., and started with the city on Tuesday, Aug. 21. “A big welcome to Simon and his wife Jodee,” Keasling said.

• Keasling noted they continue to interview candidates for the vacant engineering tech position. 

The city employment updates were part of Great Bend City Administrator Kendal Francis’ newsletter to the City Council. Other highlights include:

CVB/Community Coordinator

• The Wall Street Journal featured an article on Jack Kilby The Chip That Changed the World.

• The Summer Street Stroll Farmers Market has been doing really well this year, Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said. This has been a partnership between the County and the City for the past seven years.

The last evening for the market will be Thursday, Sept. 13. 

• Hayes and Emily Goad will represent Great Bend on Sept. 12 at the State Fair promoting Great Bend and Mega Motor Weekend. 

• The GTO Pontiac Uprising Event will be at the SRCA Dragstrip Saturday. 

This event is a little different than other Sunflower Rod and Custom Association drag races. This group comes to have their yearly conference, meeting, car show and to speed down the drag strip.

• National Geographic called to get in touch with our Zoo because our Artic Fox Pixie was featured in the magazine a little over two years ago. Project members are interested in looking into ways to do an Audio tour of zoos from those specific animals. 

“Nothing is set in stone but it’s exciting that such a big organization is interested in our wonderful little zoo,” Hayes said.

• Great Bend will host the Wings and Wetlands Birding Festival again this year. The date has been set for April 26-28, 2019. 

• The Events Center carpet and flooring is finished. There will be an open house for everyone to come see the upgrade. 

• The Mega Motor Weekend will be taking place the last weekend of September. The weekend will be full with the Great Bend Air Fest, National Hot Rod Association Lucas Oil Races at the SRCA dragstrip and the Hahn Supercross Shootout. 


Public Works

Property Maintenance Enforcement:

• 46 Complaints this month with 19 being citizen reported

a. 17 complaints for trash/refuse

b. 5 complaints for motor vehicles

c. 22 complaints for overgrown vegetation

d. 2 complaints were investigated and no violation found

• 29 Abatement notices sent out

• 9 Abatements performed

• 82 Cases closed per citizen compliance

• 30 Motor vehicles were brought into compliance

Street Department

• Flood control dike inspection with the Corps of Engineers completed Aug. 1 and 2.

• Performed miscellaneous sand alley base repairs throughout city

• 74 city blocks of sand roads bladed and repaired to grade

• Street sweeper cleaned 67 city blocks

• Began excavation and cleanup operations to damaged storm water box culvert located at 18th and Baker. Awaiting inspection results to determine damage and to schedule the appropriate repairs.

• Performed cleanup operations following rain events to pick up limb debris and clean clogged drop inlets

• Mowed various locations throughout the city as well as flood control dikes.

• Removed trees from the Lischeskey drainage ditch to clear water obstructions.

• Performed miscellaneous pothole patching throughout entire city.

Fire/EMS/Inspection/Code Enforcement

• The new recruits experienced a live burn in the burn building.

• All three shifts participated in driver training.

Activity for August, 2017 compared to 2018:

Fire incidents – 30 and 26

Ems incidents – 176 and 142

Carbon monoxide calls – three and two

Average response time – three minutes and 59 seconds, and three minutes and 41 seconds

Average turnout time – nine seconds and 41 seconds

Overlapping calls – 26.21 percent and 23.81 percent

Year to date incidents – 1,544 and 1,500

Great Bend Police Department

• School opened Sept. 22. A public safety notice was sent to the local press to remind drivers to slow down and watch for students going to and from schools in Great Bend. The announcement also advised drivers to obey school zone and traffic laws.  

GBPD Officers will be in school zones enforcing traffic violations.

• Chief David Bailey attended a discussion at the Best Western Motel referencing “a Peaceful, Informative Discussion on Legalizing Cannabis in Kansas.” 

• Bailey and Lt. Heather Smith attended a class about drones at Fire Station No. 1. 

• August Patrol Division stats:

Criminal cases reported – 27

Accident cases reported – 29  

Citations issued – 200 

Warrant arrests – 56

Narcotics cases – 10