City commissioners made what they're calling the "natural choice" of hiring Mark McAnarney as the new full-time city manager of Emporia.
This decision was passed down during Wednesday's action session. Commissioners had an executive session, where they decided to reject the previous contract with the search firm Austin Peters Group, and offer the job to one of their own. McAnarney says he'll give it his best shot.
McAnarney has been serving as Interim City Manager, after Matt Zimmerman left the post last year. McAnarney's contract is pending approval through the city attorney's office, and he will officially take on the title at the next commission meeting March 5. Current Interim Assistant City Manager Jim Witt will take on that position full-time as well. McAnarney says Witt is a good friend, and everyone works well together.
McAnarney says the first order of business is to continue working on the current projects.
Commissioner Bobbi Mlynar says all the commissioners are fully confident that they've made the best choice.
In other business, the commission heard requests for rezoning and property management. Commissioners declined Calvin Gunkel's final request to rezone the property at 1315 West 9th. Gunkel was wishing to demolish the current home on the property, and build a duplex-style building on the lot, changing the zoning to Resident Type 2. Gunkel's request had been sent back and forth from the Planning Commission to the city commission, both rejecting the proposal. Neighbors spoke out against the rezoning, calling it "flagrant spot-zoning." Commissioners cited this reason for declining the request.
Commissioners did approve a request from St. Mark's Lutheran Church for a conditional use permit, to build a shed on the property, and a request from Mid Kansas Properties for a minor plat of the Hidden Mesas II subdivision.
Commissioners also approved the consent agenda, therefore awarding bids for the 2014 Hazardous Sidewalk project, and approving the contract for repaving the Emporia Municipal airport runway. Commissioners also approved the purchase of new radio communications equipment for the Emporia Police and Fire/EMS departments.