Archive for Thursday, September 11, 2003

Basehor city administrator wanted?

City Council reviews creating new managerial position

September 11, 2003

For small cities growing quickly, there comes a point when more management is necessary.

"When a city gets around 2,000, 2,500 (in population) is when you start seeing cities thinking of a city administrator," said Mark Tomb, a representative of the League of Kansas Municipalities. "That's when the conversation really starts."

Anyone know of a place like that?

Basehor, population 2,513 according to the most recent Census and the fifth fastest growing community in Kansas, could join the likes of Eudora and Spring Hill as small cities hiring a full-time city administrator for the first time. The league of municipalities helped both cities fill city administrator positions, Tomb said.

Tomb was on hand Monday, Sept. 8 during a Basehor City Council work session for a presentation concerning hiring a full-time city administrator.

In the city's 2004 budget, $65,000 is set aside for the hiring of the position. As a governing body, the City Council made no decisions concerning the position Monday night and set no timetable for the hiring.

However, it appears the position does have some City Council support.

"I think we are going to start the process," City Council president Julian Espinoza said Monday night. "I would have loved to have had one this year."

Tomb said the duties of city administrators are at the discretion of the governing bodies but typically the position oversees the day-to-day operation of the city and "has the power to make decisions and is the person to carry out (directives of) the City Council."

"It's an issue of responsibility," Tomb said. "A city administrator plans for growth, plans for the future. Someone who can look at the latest trends and respond."

A city administrator in a community the size of Basehor could expect a salary between $45,000 and $55,000, Tomb said.

Besides the increasing residential population, Basehor's close proximity to the metropolitan area and tourist attractions inside the Village West tourism district would also be factors in determining salary, Tomb said.

Although a city administrator could lighten the workload for city staff, the position won't be a cure-all from the outset, Tomb said.

"I think a lot of governing bodies think they'll find savings in the first year that would pay for a city administrator's salary," Tomb said. "Long term that's true, but there are some growing pains."

If the city chooses to do so, the league of municipalities could aid the City Council in searching for a city administrator.

For a fee, the league of municipalities would begin the hiring procedure, which would include defining the job description, publicizing the opening, reviewing resumes, conducting background checks and ranking the top 10 to 20 candidates.

The hiring process could go quickly should the City Council decide to hire a city administrator.

"If everything comes in line, it's going to be a two-month process," Tomb said.

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