The Shawnee City Commission is wanting to go in a new direction, but commissioners aren’t agreeing on how the city should proceed as far as picking a new city manager.

The vote came in 4-2 Tuesday to push forward with advertising for the city manager’s position with commissioners Tom Schrzan and Marva O’Neal casting dissenting votes. The position is open because commissioners voted June 16 to terminate Jim Collard.

Schrzan said all seven commissioners should decide the direction for the city, including the advertising and hiring of a city manager. His statement was in reference to Commissioner Pam Stephens not being present at the meeting.


The Shawnee City Commission is wanting to go in a new direction, but commissioners aren’t agreeing on how the city should proceed as far as picking a new city manager.
The vote came in 4-2 Tuesday to push forward with advertising for the city manager’s position with commissioners Tom Schrzan and Marva O’Neal casting dissenting votes. The position is open because commissioners voted June 16 to terminate Jim Collard.
Schrzan said all seven commissioners should decide the direction for the city, including the advertising and hiring of a city manager. His statement was in reference to Commissioner Pam Stephens not being present at the meeting.
Mayor Chuck Mills said to not move forward would show a sign of being indecisive which is exactly what the commission accused Collard of being.
He said by not moving forward with the advertising, the city was wasting time. The city has good direction, but it wasn’t being adhered to, Mills said.
“We’ve had good direction? Then why the hell did we fire the city manager?” Schrzan said.
Schrzan said the requirements the city has now were developed four years ago, but the city’s needs have changed since then and the requirements may need to change as a result.
He said, “To stick with the needs of four years ago is not moving forward.”
Commissioner Linda Peterson said the city will advertise for 45 to 60 days, but all the commission will be present before they even look at the applications.
Commissioner Billy Collier said the city commission needs to make its decision on the direction and then look for an applicant who fits in that direction.
In Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners approved interim city manager Phyllis Loftis’ request for $92,000 as an annual salary while serving as interim. Collard’s salary was $96,000. She also will receive $500 for travel allowance.
Loftis said she still will assist the city clerk’s office, as well as in billing and municipal court, but her first priority will be the city manager’s position.
Commissioners also approved the transfer of $60,000 from the street department’s regular salaries to the city manager’s regular salaries to compensate the six months severance package for Collard as stated in his contract.
City Treasurer/Finance Director Neva Treiber said the street department’s personnel fund could absorb the transfer, because the department had a decrease in personnel.