Big Changes Coming To Topeka City Council | Colson Gets Raise

Jim Colson, Topeka City Manager
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Topeka City Council members no longer have to meet at least four times each month. With a 7-2 vote Monday night, they voted to reduce the minimum number of council meeting per month to three.

District 7 Councilwoman Elaine Schwartz argued by eliminating a quarter of their minimum meetings the council would free up a Tuesday for work sessions. Council members John Campos (Dist. 2) and Sylvia Ortiz (Dist. 3) opposed the measure.

Campos and Ortiz were joined by 1st District Councilwoman Karen Hiller voting against a five-year contract extension for City Manager Jim Colson. The trio were not happy the contract popped up without notice during this session.

Campos argued it's wrong not to give council members time to discuss the proposal with their constituents. Councilman Chad Manspeaker countered that it was perfectly reasonable for the council to handle the contract in executive session and that there was nothing underhanded going on.

The new deal, which provides Colson with a 2% raise, will pay him over $175,000 per year through Aug. 27, 2019 and provides a total of four weeks vacation per year. It passed by a 6-3 margin.

The council also voted to do away with "First Reading." That measure won't go into effect for 60 days, said Mayor Larry Wolgast.