After 16 years, Great Bend City Clerk/Finance Manager Wayne Henneke sat at his City Hall desk for the last time Friday. Well, it was his last day working full time.
“I will come in a few hours each week to help out,” he said. “But, I only want bank statements on my desk.”
After having worked in government and finance since 1974, he’s grown weary of irate citizens and angry utility customers. “No matter how long you do this, you never get used to people screaming at you.”
None the less, he is glad to stick around for a while. This is good news since the search to replace him has gone slowly, said Human Resources Director Terry Hoff.
“We’ve had a few applications turned in, but no decision has been made,” Hoff said. “We want to get the right person with the right qualifications.”
And, with city officials focused on the Convention Center, the search has sort of been placed on hold. “Wayne will come in so we can keep essential things going,” Hoff said.
The other duties will be spread among existing staff. “Honestly, we’re not sure if we are going to try to fill it immediately.
“Wayne has been amazing to work with,” Hoff said. “It’s going to be a big loss. It’s going to be difficult to fill his shoes.”
This is a multi-faceted job. As clerk, the job description calls for keeping City Council meeting minutes, preparing records and reports for council members and other tasks. The financial side handles working closely on the budget and bookkeeping. Tossed in for good measure is utility billing.
Henneke, who is 64, said it was just time to retire. He and his wife Karen “want to travel and do the family thing. Who knows, maybe my blood pressure will go down.”
Also, after the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism stocks Stone Lake with trout, he may wet a line or two.
He came to Great Bend after 18 years in Farmington, Minn. Prior to that, he’d been in Walla Walla, Wash. He is a native of western Washington State and his wife is from Minnesota.