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Emporia, KS
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October 30, 2013

This is an open letter to the Emporia City Commissioners

          Commissioners:

          I thank each of you for serving on the Emporia City Commission. Few know the time and effort you extend.

          With the resignation of Matt Zimmerman you are faced with not only with a challenge, but also a good opportunity.

          Matt did a good job for our community. His leadership helped put our city is excellent financial condition while also attending to issues like infrastructure improvement, clean up efforts and a host of other items.

          Here are a couple of thoughts about his successor.

          First, we need someone knowledgeable, aggressive and assertive. We need someone on their way up, not someone looking to retire in Emporia. Emporia has too much riding on this person to not find a “go getter.”

          With that said let me suggest this is NOT the time to try and save money on this hire. We will get exactly what we pay for!

          Emporia’s best shot at growing over the next decade is tied closely to Emporia State University. President Shonrock has the university on an upward spurt, so it is important to find someone with a good grasp on how the city might best assist the campus in their growth.

          It would make sense to me to ask Michael Shonrock to be a part of your search process.

          Other groups you might consult on this decision are the Flint Hills Technical College, the Regional Development Association and the Lyon County Commissioners. And, it wouldn’t hurt to include USD 253 in the process.

          I am curious why you are waiting to start your search. I hope it’s not because you want to try running the city for awhile without a city manager on board.

          Emporia’s chosen form of city government demands a professional manager leading the way with policy set by the city commission. Operating for an extended period of time without that professional leadership seems to me to be taking an unnecessary chance.

          Good luck in your deliberations. Much of Emporia’s future is tied to your selection.

          I’m Steve Sauder and there’s something to think about.