Topeka City Manager taking extended leave of absence

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 9:05 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka City Manager Steve Wade is taking a leave of absence.

City Council members approved the request at the end of their meeting Tuesday night. No reason was given for the request and no timeline was given for Wade’s potential return. A news release from the city stated only that it will be for an “extended” time.

The Governing Body began Tuesday’s regular meeting by adjourning to a closed-door executive session that lasted about an hour. Wade was not seen in the council chambers Tuesday night.

The council also authorized negotiating an employment agreement with Richard U. Nienstedt of Ottawa to serve as acting City Manager. Nienstedt retired from the City of Ottawa in March. He’ll assume his role with the city of Topeka immediately.

The city says Nienstedt will begin working in Topeka later this week.

“I want to assure the Topeka community and the city’s dedicated staff, that I will honorably serve the city during this time. It is my priority to ensure the continuity of operations of the city, and I’m honored the Governing Body selected me for this temporary role,” Nienstedt said.

Nienstedt and his wife Rita have three grown children who live in Olpe, Garnett, and Columbia, Missouri.

In a statement, the Governing Body said it “wants to assure the community that the business of the city will not be interrupted during this time.”

The city had no further comment on the situation, saying it is a personnel matter.

Wade took the role of City Manager in September 2022. He succeeded interim city manager Bill Cochran.