Archive for Thursday, December 23, 2004

See ya: City Council accepts resignations

City administrator, treasurer departing City Hall

December 23, 2004

In a resignation letter submitted to members of the Basehor City Council Monday night, lame duck Basehor city administrator David Fuqua said he "isn't leaving for just another city manager's job" but for a position that "has a lot of possibilities and where it will end I don't know."

He also said the city of Basehor has plenty of potential for the future.

"You have the opportunity of a lifetime and that is, you get to make Basehor whatever you want it to be," Fuqua wrote in a letter addressed to Basehor mayor Joseph Scherer and the five City Council members. "You get to learn from the mistakes of other communities and right their wrongs from years past. It has been a good experience knowing and working with you."

By unanimous vote, council members accepted Fuqua's resignation Monday night and wished him well in the future. The council also agreed to allow the city administrator to officially leave his post Dec. 24, although his contract states he's to give 30 days notice before vacating.

Fuqua, the first city administrator in Basehor history, informed city officials last week that he intended to resign. He accepted the city manager's job in Wewoka, Okla., a post he held six years ago.

"Several weeks ago, the ex-mayor of Wewoka approached me concerning their city manager position," Fuqua wrote in his letter. "He wanted to know if I wanted to return and be their city manager again. My first response was no, however, I was reminded of the favorable political situation that now existed in this town for me.

Fuqua wrote that "I do know it is one of those situations that a person just doesn't turn down."

The Basehor City Council spent nearly as much time finding a city administrator, seven months, as it received from the position's first hire, approximately 10 months.

When news broke last week regarding the resignation, City Council members differed on their opinions in replacing the city administrator.

Three of the five City Council members -- Scherer, council president Julian Espinoza and member Keith Sifford -- have indicated they won't seek re-election in April of 2005.

Opinions on finding a new administrator ranged from waiting for the new council members to come on board to starting a search as soon as possible.

At Monday night's meeting, the City Council retired into two separate executive sessions to discuss Fuqua's resignation and that of another municipal employee, treasurer Baron Powell.

Espinoza said the council hasn't reached a consensus on the procedure the governing body will use in finding a new administrator, but reiterated his preference of starting the search right away.

"My guess is we'll probably wait to deal with it until after the holidays," Espinoza said. "Personally, I think we have issues going on and we need someone to step up and pick up the pieces."

Approving Powell's resignation wasn't as clear-cut as Fuqua's.

The City Council voted, 3-2, to accept the treasurer's resignation; council members Espinoza and Sifford voted against acceptance.

Espinoza said there's no wiggle room for Powell to return despite the narrow vote on his resignation.

"It's a done deal," he said.

As part of the approved motion, Powell will leave his post at a mutually agreeable date.

While some council members aren't pleased to see Powell leave, that may not be the case with others.

Powell's resignation letter, a scathing criticism of council policies and conduct, labeled the City Council "mean-spirited", "short-sighted", "ill-informed" and "self-serving."

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