PAOLA — When Paola City Manager Jay Wieland announced his retirement late last year, City Council members and administrative leaders began an extensive search and interview process to find his replacement.
They took their time, knowing it wouldn’t be easy to find someone who could replicate the level of leadership Wieland demonstrated during his 12-year tenure.
Now, though, city officials are confident they have found their man.
Paola Mayor Artie Stuteville recently announced the hiring of Sid Fleming to be the city’s next city manager.
Fleming is currently the city administrator for Iola, Kan., but he is expected to begin employment with the city of Paola on or before March 16, according to a city news release.
“We are very excited to have Sid join our organization,” Stuteville said. “His previous experiences and desire for cultivating relationships that smaller communities such as ours have to offer makes him a good fit for the city of Paola. Mr. Fleming will have the opportunity to lead the city of Paola through some exciting times as the city continues to grow and move forward with a number of projects.”
Fleming began his career in local government with the city of Wichita, serving in numerous capacities. During that time, he also continued his education and graduated from Wichita State University with a Master of Public Administration, according to the release.
He began his city management career with the city of Yuma in northeast Colorado. Fleming, who is a native of Coldwater, Kan., had a desire to move closer to family, which brought him to the city of Iola, according to the release.
Fleming said he and his family are looking forward to the transition to Paola. In the beginning, his wife, Sarah, and their three school-age children will finish the school year in Iola before moving to Paola in the late spring.
“I look forward to joining the city of Paola team, working in the community, and cultivating new relationships,” Fleming said. “As a family, we look forward to joining the community, experiencing our first Roots Festival, and exploring the Paola Pathways in Wallace Park and around Lake Miola.”
Wieland’s official last day on the job was Saturday, Jan. 18, so Assistant City Manager Randi Shannon will fill the role of interim city manager until Fleming takes over. Wieland also has previously told council members he would be willing to volunteer his services for a short while to help out in any way he can.