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New administrator settling in
new deh george kolb farewell reception kendel francis pic web
New Great Bend City Administrator Kendel Francis (right) chats with city Sanitarian Austin LaViolette during the farewell reception for Interim City Administrator George Kolb Monday afternoon. Monday was also Francis first day on the job. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 As the City of Great Bend feted Interim City Administrator George Kolb Monday afternoon, his permanent replacement Kendel Francis had his first day on the job.

Kolb’s official last day is Aug. 17. But both he and Francis will be work in parallel as the transition is made.

Francis was anointed city administrator on July 16.

“It’s been pretty much nonstop since I got here this morning,” Francis said Monday afternoon. “That is what I expected. There is a lot going on and I am going to jump in feet first.”

He had meetings with city staff and community members about what is happening in the city. “There are a lot of on-going projects.”

Francis said he expects the changing of the guard to go much quicker than planned. “George has been very gracious to fill me in on the blanks. I couldn’t be more excited to get going.”

His exposure to Great Bend has been somewhat limited, but he likes what he sees. 

“I was excited about this opportunity, excited about this community,” Francis said. “It has the same problems everyone else has. But, I see nothing but opportunities.”

Francis said he has already found a place to live. Now, he wants to call the city his home.

“I want to get immersed in the community,” he said. “I like to be a part of the community, not just as an administrator, but has an active resident.”

He has an interest in civic organizations like Rotary Club and Kiwanis Club. Also, volunteering important to him.

He’s off to a good start. He said he has already attended a church picnic and local fundraiser.

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 waste water 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.