Jim Colson Selected As Topeka City Manager

By: Suzie Gilbert / Melissa Brunner Email
By: Suzie Gilbert / Melissa Brunner Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka City Council members voted 6-3 Tuesday night to hire Jim Colson as Topeka's next city manager.

The contract is for two years and includes a salary of $170,000. He will start August 27th.

Deputy Mayor Larry Wolgast says Colson will bring a wealth of experience in economic development and leadership to the position.

"They've had to lower the city employment and the budget because the economy affected them more than it affected us," Wolgast said. "So he's gone through that process of working through major changes with the budget."

Council members John Alcala, Sylvia Ortiz and Chad Manspeaker cast the dissenting votes. Before the vote, Ortiz said it wasn't that she thought Colson wouldn't do a good job, she simply could not support a contract at that salary when the city was in tight budget times.

"He's never been a City Manager," Ortiz told 13 News. "He's always been an Assistant City Manager. I'm not saying he can't come here and do a good job; I know nothing about the man. His references have checked out, but I don't think the citizens are looking to pay a City Manager $170,000."

The Council did vote against an amendment which would have provided Colson $28,000 in relocation expenses.

Colson currently is Deputy City Manager in Glendale, Arizona. He was among two finalists who were brought to Topeka for interviews. The other was Margie Rose, who is Assistant City Manager in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Colson will succeed Norton Bonaparte, Jr., who left the position more than a year ago under a separation agreement. Bonaparte made $137,500 per year.

Dan Stanley served as Interim City Manager until leaving June 1 for family reasons. Topeka's Finance Manager Pam Simecka has handled the duties since then.

On Tuesday, Topeka City Council members also approved term limits for the City Manager spot. The resolution will require six votes to terminate, or non-renew Colson's contract.

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