OSAWATOMIE — A former city administrator for the city of Lansing for 16 years has been selected to serve as interim city manager until the city of Osawatomie can find outgoing manager Don Cawby’s successor.
The City Council voted unanimously Thursday, Sept. 12, to hire Michael Smith as interim city manager. Smith served as city administrator of Lansing from 1999 until his retirement in 2015. Prior to that post, Smith served Lansing for two decades as the community’s police chief.
Smith is the current mayor of Lansing and also is president of the Kansas Mayors Association.
The City Council also voted unanimously to engage the services of the League Executive/Administrative Position Search (LEAPS) program. The League of Kansas Municipalities program assists cities in filling city executive positions.
The City Council’s goal is to hire a new city manager before the city’s contract with Smith expires March 27, 2020.
The interim contract calls for Smith to work a minimum of 24 hours per work week and excludes him from accepting employment as chief executive of another municipality or other organization while he is employed with the city of Osawatomie. The contract recognizes that as the currently elected mayor of Lansing, Smith has certain obligations and duties to perform for that community.
The contract calls for Smith to be paid a bi-weekly salary of $2,600.
Smith, who attended Thursday night’s meeting, said he would not limit his time to 24 hours.
“Any other time that we are negotiating … or something like that, I’ll be down,” Smith said. “So 24 hours would be the least I’ll be sitting in the office.”
Smith said some of the topics he’d heard that evening, ranging from nuisance violations to street improvements, he addressed as Lansing’s city administrator.
“Believe me, I’ve dealt with some of (these issues) over the years ...,” Smith said. “I hope I can help with some of the things I’ve heard tonight.”
Smith’s contract will go into effect Sept. 23, and it can be extended beyond March 27, 2020, by mutual agreement. The contract would end before the expiration date if the city hires a permanent city manager.
As a city administrator, Smith said he didn’t have all the answers, but in those instances he could usually find the people who did.
“I look forward to working with you,” he told the City Council.
A community reception in Cawby’s honor took place before the start of Thursday night’s meeting at Memorial Hall. Cawby was Osawatomie’s city manager for eight years. He has accepted the position of finance director for the city of Shawnee.