City taps LKM help for search

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro City Council agreed at its Jan. 27 meeting to engage assistance from the League of Kansas Municipalities in its search for a new city administrator.

Mark Tooms, who works with the LKM’s hiring service known as League Executive/Administrative Position Search (LEAPS), said, “We help you every step of the way.”

Tooms said private consulting firms aren’t interested in helping communities of less than 10,000 people and charge up to $25,000 for their services. The charge for LKM’s services will be $3,966.

Tooms said the search process generally takes 21⁄2 to three months before a candidate is hired. Based on his five years with LEAPS, Tooms said the process would likely generate 25 to 30 applicants, but usually a third of them are eliminated “pretty quickly.”

Tooms said it would be important for the council to identify the most important skills it was looking for in an applicant.

“You’re not going to be able to find somebody who is an expert in everything,” he said. “The key is to find somebody who knows when they don’t know, but knows where they can go to get the information and bring themselves up to speed.”

Mayor Delores Dalke told the council members to review the handbook LKM provides about guidelines for governing bodies in regard to their role in city management.

“We do have to become the problem-solvers, but we have to know how to go about doing things,” she said, “It’s even more important now because we don’t have anybody to fall back on.”

In a related matter, the council appointed Kala Nickel as its interim city treasurer and Jan Meisinger as its interim zoning administrator. Both positions had been filled by former City Administrator Steve Garrett.

In other business, the council took a first look at the city’s snow-removal policy in anticipation of taking action at its next meeting. The ordinance addresses priorities for clearing streets, but the council discussed the possibility of including regulations about sidewalks in the downtown business district.

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