WAYNE – Earlier this week on Monday, June 5, the three finalists for the City Administrator position were introduced to the community of Wayne.
The three finalists are Michael Holton from Plainview, Wes Blecke of Wayne and Amber Kummer of Anthony, Kansas.
All three candidates sat in on three, 90-minute interviews with city staff at the City Auditorium, with business leaders and board members at the Fire Hall and the search committee in the council chambers.
Mayor Ken Chamberlain said he wanted to give everyone the opportunity to meet and greet the finalists.
“I think it worked out well,” said Mayor Chamberlain. “I think it made for a long day for everybody involved. But, it was kind of nice to get that all taking place at one time.”
Around February of 2017 is when nearly 20 individuals sent in their resumes and cover letters. The candidates were then narrowed down to five for phone interviews and then to three finalists.
Holton is the current City Administrator for the City of Plainview, Blecke is currently the Executive Director for Wayne Area Economic Development and has been the Ashland City Administrator while Kummer is the Clerk/Administrator for the City of Anthony.
The current City Administrator, Lowell Johnson has held his position for nearly 17 years. Mayor Chamberlain added that Johnson is, “leaving some pretty big shoes to fill.”
“He’s held in a pretty high regard across the state,” Mayor Chamberlain added. “So, he’s kind of left a mark, it’s going to be a challenge to beat; he set the bar pretty high.”
Johnson is officially retiring at the end of July.
The search committee members consisted of Mayor Chamberlain; councilmembers Jill Brodersen, Jennifer Sievers and Cale Giese; Amy Miller (attorney), Galen Wiser (was on board when Johnson was hired), Mark Lenihan (Wayne Community Schools Superintendent), Steve Elliot (Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wayne State College) and Betty McGuire (City Clerk).
All three candidates have their different strengths and weaknesses but the final decision is going to be tough, according to Mayor Chamberlain.
“I don’t know that we can really go wrong with the decision, but you know it’s also one that we want to make sure we get right,” Mayor Chamberlain mentioned. “I don’t want to have to go through this again in a few years. I don’t want the next mayor and the next councils to have to do this anytime soon.”
Mayor Chamberlain said his goal is to bring the name of the next City Administrator to the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 20 at 5:30 p.m.
Nancy Braden, City Finance Director for about 40 years, will also be retiring at the end of 2017. From the Tuesday, June 6 City Council meeting, councilmembers approved advertising to accept applications.