TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topeka has a new city leader. Monday (8/27) was Jim Colson's first day as Topeka City Manager. He says teamwork will help him tackle tough issues.
Colson says his biggest challenge will be keeping a balanced budget, while delivering high quality services to citizens.
"Making sure the city is managed in a manner that delivers both the services that the residents and the community expect to be delivered, and in a very high quality manner, and in a fiscally responsible manner, that allows us to continue to operate in a professional manner," Colson said.
"I like to work and I love the challenges that exist in Topeka," Colson told 13 News he had a busy first day. Colson says he reported to his City Hall office, filled out paperwork, and met with co-workers and department heads, those who will help him make crucial decisions.
The weight of one challenge is already on his shoulders. City leaders passed the 2013 budget with $300,000 in cuts to come at Colson's discretion. It's just the first set of what Colson says will be a slate of tough decisions.
"We do have an idea that we're working through. We will continue to look at it to make sure that we make the best decisions possible," Colson said.
Colson came to the Capital City from Glendale, Ariz., where he worked as Deputy City Manager. His contract with the City of Topeka includes a $170,000 salary, a number that not every Topeka City Council member approved. Colson says the number is fair. He says it's the going rate for comparable management positions.
He says he'll use his friendly and professional persona to bring city leaders together.
"It is my responsibility to always be professional. I happen to think that I'm much more friendly than what has come across in many of my earlier comments and the way that they were misconstrued. But I believe that the number one job is to get the job done, and to be professional and to do good staff work, and to drive the city, the performance of the city, in a way that allows us to achieve our objective. I think people have respect for that and I don't anticipate any issues at all. My conversations with the council members have been very positive to this point and I expect that that will continue," Colson said.
Colson succeeds Norton Bonaparte, Jr., who left the position under a separation agreement more than a year ago. Dan Stanley and Topeka Finance Director Pam Simecka served in the interim.