The Great Bend City Council emerged from a 15-minute special meeting executive session Tuesday evening and immediately adjourned. The meeting was called to discuss the three finalists for the city administrator’s position, however no public discussion nor action took place.
And, the council made no announcement as to when further action may take place. The council next meets for a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 1209 Williams.
Which ever candidate gets the nod will be in a post filled by an interim administrator since Great Bend officialdom was shaken last summer by a controversy surrounding now resigned Police Chief Clifton Couch and now retired City Administrator Howard Partington.
The finalists include: Larry Collins, who served as fire chief and interim city administrator in Ann Arbor Michigan; Kendal Francis, who served as city manager in Coffeyville and city administrator in Lakin; and Scott Hildebrand, who currently serves as the city administrator for Valley Center.
Under city ordinances, the city administrator is appointed by the mayor with the consent of the council.
The special meeting followed a 45-minute executive session held during the council’s meeting last Monday to discuss the finalists for the job. No action was taken.
On June 22, the council announced candidates and the schedule for their visit to the community. On Wednesday, June 27, the council interviewed them, introduced them to department heads and took them on tours of the city. The next day, there was a series of public meet-and-greet sessions.
Although aware of the turmoil last summer, all said they see great potential for growth and unity in Great Bend. They liked a progressive stand and desire to plan for the future.
Slavin Management Consultants of Atlanta, Ga., is the company in charge of the official search for candidates. It helped the City Council narrow down the field to those who best fit the needs of the community.
In May, the City Council met in executive sessions to narrow the field of applicants to three.
In February, the council approved contracting with headhunters Slavin Management Consultants to handle the search. The city is paying the Atlanta, Ga.-based firm $15,505 plus expenses.
Since last September, George Kolb of Wichita has served as interim city administrator. Until Kolb was appointed by the council, City Attorney Bob Suelter had been acting as the short-term interim administrator.
The appointment was made necessary by the Aug. 16, 2017, retirement of Partington, who had been with the city for 36 years. Partington cited stress caused by the controversy between Couch and the city as the reason for his departure.