Archive for Thursday, April 6, 2006

New city employees roll up sleeves

Administrator takes charge at city hall

April 6, 2006

A total of 447 days passed at Basehor City Hall without a full-time, day-to-day figurehead in place. That streak ended March 27, as Carl Slaugh began work as the second city administrator in Basehor history.

"I'm trying to get familiar with all the issues, the people, figure out what needs to be done and then organize and come up with a plan (for the future)," said Slaugh, who comes to Basehor from Hiawatha, where he worked as city administrator for four years.

Before taking over in Hiawatha, he worked as a community development director in Merriam -- a history he shares with new planner Dustin Smith -- for two years.

Though not yet fully up-to-speed on all the issues Basehor faces, he said the city's situation of facing the pressures -- and possible fruits -- of rapid growth isn't all that different from what he dealt with back in Hiawatha.

"It's kind of a traditional challenge of meeting the needs of developers and providing infrastructure," he said.

Slaugh, whose employment with the city was approved by a narrow 3-2 council vote, sat in on his first city council meeting Monday night. He inherits a city besieged with an unprecedented period of residential growth and one that finds itself needing to bolster streets and sewers to accommodate new subdivisions.

He said his "primary motivation" in returning to the area was that his wife, Cheryl, wanted to be closer to the metropolitan area. When he learned of the Basehor opening -- a job he applied for once before -- Slaugh said he felt his background and experience would benefit the city in dealing with its growing pains.

During a retreat Saturday, April 22, city council members will sit down with Slaugh and begin developing a blueprint of goals to accomplish for the coming months. Slaugh said those priorities will include developing master sewer and street plans, a capital improvement list, developing personnel manuals and beginning the budget process.

"That should provide a good for growth," Slaugh said.

Ideally, Slaugh said, the job in Basehor will be a permanent one, rather than a springboard onto something bigger.

"I'm not really looking to spring onto something else," Slaugh said. "I like working in small towns." He added, "Of course, it all depends on how successful I am at doing what the council wants."

Slaugh signed a one-year contract worth $65,800 plus benefits. The council required him to live inside the city limits. He said he and his wife are in the process of moving to Basehor.

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