With voting in the Nov. 3 general election having begun, The State Journal continues its series of questions for Frankfort City Commission and mayoral candidates.

City commissioner candidates have 200 words to respond and mayoral candidates have 300 words to respond. 

This week’s question: Would you be OK with the current city commission hiring a new city manager (yes or no)? In your opinion, how should the process for hiring a new city manager work?

Layne Wilkerson

I do not believe this to be an issue. The current commission has not indicated that they have any intention to try and hire a permanent city manager.

If that has changed, then my answer is no, I do not want the current city commission to hire the next city manager. There are several reasons to defer the decision to the next commission, and not enough space here to go into them.

As for the process, the city should conduct a comprehensive search. This search will include both in-house efforts and an outside firm’s help to research backgrounds and narrow our choices. 

Emphasis should be placed on experience managing projects and people, professional education (a degree in government management preferred), and experience managing a similarly sized city. Most importantly, the new city manager needs to understand the incoming commission’s vision for Frankfort’s future and be comfortable in their role in executing the vision.

Whoever does become the new city manager will have a tremendous opportunity to be a part of the great things that lie ahead for our city.

Tommy Haynes

The newly elected city commission should hire the next city manager. With at least 60% (including the mayor) and potentially all of the current city commission changing in 2021, it just makes sense that the new commission should make the selection.

More questions will be raised if this position is filled by the current city commission, particularly regarding the security of the new city manager’s job given the transition to a new city commission in 2021. This could also result in a reduced applicant pool. What person would be attracted to this position knowing that the makeup of the city commission will change in 2021?

The process for hiring should begin with the new mayor and elected commissioners identifying the characteristics they deem important in a city manager to allow both parties to effectively execute their respective roles in moving Frankfort forward. It is essential that the new city commission and the next city manager’s relationship be grounded in trust, competence, professionalism and collegiality on both sides. 

Heading into 2021, Frankfort faces many critical issues, including potential revenue shortages, recovery and growth of small and large businesses, and enhancing job opportunities and additional community amenities that will add more value to the living experience in Frankfort.

These goals will require vision, a strategic plan of action and successful implementation. We must cast a wide net to find the next city manager and look for one who has demonstrated experience and success in the goals noted above.

I encourage anyone who believes that they check the boxes noted above to apply. I hope the candidate pool will be diverse and do not believe that any preference should be given to anyone for any reason. The goal is to find the best city manager for Frankfort.


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