Archive for Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hiawatha man named city administrator

Council approves hiring on 3-2 vote; dissenter vows to work with new hire

January 26, 2006

Basehor now has a city administrator.

Thursday night, city council members approved by a 3-2 vote the hiring of Carl Slaugh, the current city administrator for Hiawatha. Council members Iris Dysart and Bill Hooker voted against the hiring.

They made no comments Thursday night. When reached Friday morning, both Dysart and Hooker said they would not comment on their votes.

Dysart, however, indicated she looks forward to working with the new administrator.

"I do intend to support this man wholeheartedly," she said, "and I will work with him to the best of my abilities."

Slaugh, 57, who on Monday formally resigned from his job in Hiawatha, said he will begin work in Basehor on March 27.

His work agreement in Hiawatha called for him to give 60 days' notice. He and his wife, Cheryl, will move to Basehor within 90 days of his start date, he said, which is part of his work agreement with the city.

Slaugh said he has enjoyed the four years he's spent in Hiawatha, but his wife wanted to be closer to the Lawrence and Kansas City areas. After 20 years in the U.S. Air Force -- and his family's many moves because of his career -- Slaugh said he listens to his wife on these matters.

So he began looking for another job.

He's eager to begin work in Basehor, he said, where he sees challenges and opportunities.

"It's a typical bedroom community, where you have a lot of growing subdivisions," he said. "You have a nice new school. The biggest problems are infrastructure."

It can be difficult for growing communities to keep pace with the demands of growth, he said, particularly when the commercial tax base is not growing as quickly as residents' needs for streets, water and sewers are.

"That makes it a little more challenging for developers," Slaugh said. "You try do things to accommodate them without bankrupting the city."

Slaugh took over as Hiawatha city administrator in March 2002. He had previously worked as a community development director for the city of Merriam.

Slaugh was also a candidate for the Basehor administrator position during a previous search, a city official said.

Before moving to Hiawatha, Slaugh and his family lived in Lawrence, where he obtained a master's degree in public administration from Kansas University. He and his wife, Cheryl, decided to move to Lawrence 13 years ago -- when Slaugh retired from the Air Force -- because she has family in the area.

Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia said Slaugh "met all the requirements" council members were looking for in a new city administrator.

"Everything the city of Hiawatha has been dealing with is what our city is looking at moving forward with," said Garcia, citing Slaugh's background in handling development, budgetary and infrastructure issues.

The mayor added: "There are day-to-day items that need to be done. ... With a city administrator on board, those things will get the attention they deserve and that will be a big plus to all of us."

Council president John Bonee also supported Slaugh. Bonee, who along with Garcia spearheaded a search committee for administrator candidates, said he "looks forward to (Slaugh) coming on board ... and having someone to take the reins" at city hall.

Slaugh's contract with Basehor is a one-year agreement that includes an annual salary of $65,800. It also provides the new administrator with moving expenses.

During the search process, a selection committee conducted a telephone interview with Slaugh and the entire council later interviewed him in person, in Basehor.

Slaugh grew up in Logan, Utah, and served 20 years as a U.S. Air Force pilot, retiring with the rank of major. Before entering the Air Force in 1973, he received a bachelor's degree in trade and industrial education from Utah State University.

He also holds a master's degree in industrial education from Utah State.

Slaugh replaces David Fuqua, the city's first administrator, who resigned 13 months ago to return to his native Oklahoma.

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