Following a nearly six-month search, the Chanute City Commission approved making a job offer for the vacant city manager position.
During Monday’s meeting, city commissioners unanimously approved hiring candidate “C,” but did not provide any pertinent details regarding the candidate in order to maintain the candidate’s anonymity should he or she not accept the position.
The motion approved Monday allows Mayor Kevin Berthot to begin negotiations with the candidate, but did not set a date for when the new city manager would work his or her first day.
The commission’s vote ends a six-month search for a new city manager that began after the resignation of former City Manager J.D. Lester, who ended his five-year tenure after announcing his resignation in June, following his acceptance of a utility general manager position for the Clarksville, Ark., Water and Light Commission. Following Lester’s departure, the commission approved naming Public Safety Director Sam Budreau as interim city manager and also approved Art Davis of Art Davis LLC to begin the search for a new city manager.
In 2008, Davis assisted the city commission in hiring Lester to replace former City Manager Randy Riggs. At that time, Lester worked as a city administrator in Hermann, Mo. By accepting the position, Lester replaced Budreau, who then sat on the commission as interim city manager. Following Lester’s June resignation, Budreau again filled the vacancy as interim city manager, which he currently does along with his duties as public safety director. Despite retiring in 2010, Budreau oversees the Chanute Police Department and Chanute Fire Department and all 160 city employees.
Although he legally retired in 2010, Budreau works part-time for the city and volunteers any additional hours that exceed his allotted hours as a part-time employee. He makes less than $19,000 in order to continue receiving retirement benefits, as mandated by the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System.
Once Chanute has a city manager in place, Budreau may begin the process of stepping away as the head of public safety. While discussing the city budget in August, Budreau said he does not plan to leave Chanute anytime soon, but does not plan to remain director of public safety forever. Instead of hiring a new director, Budreau suggested commissioners create two new positions, one for head of the police department and the other for the fire department, which he would train to replace him.
“If for some reason we do not have a candidate rise to the top, then you still have the option of hiring a director,” Budreau said. “It would get a line of promotion those departments have not seen in a long time so it would give an opportunity for candidates to rise to that occasion.”
City commissioners also:
•Approved a neighborhood revitalization application for Gratz Peters of Pete’s Corporation for construction of a commercial building
• Approved amending the 2013 budget to match already collected revenue
• Approved reappointing Angela Robinson and Tim Cunningham to the Chanute Tourism Committee