No action was taken on the hiring of a new Great Bend city administrator after the City Council emerged from a marathon four-and-a-half-hour executive session Wednesday night. The council, joined by Mayor Cody Schmidt, Interim City Administrator Logan Burns, Human Resources Director Randy Keasling and other city personnel, interviewed the three candidate finalists for the post.
The meeting commenced at 4 p.m. in the council’s City Hall chambers and promptly went in to a closed-door session and wrapped up at 8:30 p.m. The interviews and council discussions were the only items on the agenda.
The candidates were called in one at a time. The names of the finalists were not released.
The applicants did spend the day Wednesday visiting the community and talking with city officials.
As for a time line, the council will hold another executive session as part of the council's regular meetimg Monday night to discuss things further, Burns said. Burns said a start date for the new administrator would be dependent upon the successful applicant’s current contract, if they have kids in school or other obligations.
It is likely the position will be filled by June.
Representatives with the headhunting firm Strategic Government Resources of Keller, Texas, notified the city they had finalized their list of applicants, Burns said. There had been 25 applications and the firm recommended nine to the City Council.
The council held a 20-minute executive session Monday night, March 20, for a preliminary review of those recommended. They winnowedthe field down to the three that came to town Wednesday.
Since the city administrator is not an elected position, this is an allowable exemption from open meeting under the Kansas Open Meetings Act to discuss non-elected personnel. However, this can be for discussion only, and action can only be taken in open session.
Strategic Government Resources was hired in December 2022 at a cost of $8,500 plus expenses. They started work in January by interviewing council members and city officials about what they were looking for in an administrator.
In early January, the council picked Burns as the interim administrator to fill in as the search to replace Kendal Francis. Francis announced in early December he was leaving Great Bend to accept the city manager’s job in Hutchinson.