Originally created 05/15/04

Kolb is finalist for Kansas job



If sunny Fort Lauderdale, Fla., doesn't work out for Augusta City Administrator George Kolb, he just might find there's no place like home in Wichita, Kan.

Mr. Kolb was named a top five finalist for Wichita's vacant city manager job Friday - a day on which he was in Fort Lauderdale being interviewed as a top four candidate for that city's manager position.

"Folks were impressed with his (Mr. Kolb's) experience as a manager," said Ed Flentje, the chairman of a residents committee that helped the city of Wichita select candidates for the job, which has a pay range of $114,168 to $171,252.

Mr. Flentje said Wichita's search began in February and attracted 50 applicants from throughout the nation. Mr. Flentje said Mr. Kolb's experience with a consolidated government also played into his top five selection. Wichita isn't consolidated, but "one of the issues is city-county cooperation," he said.

Wichita is the largest city in Kansas with a population of 350,000, Mr. Flentje said. Its city manager position became vacant when the former manager, Chris Cherches, resigned Dec. 31 after 18 years of service in the wake of a controversy over travel expenses and city contracts.

Mr. Flentje said the remaining candidates for the job will have an interview with the committee Wednesday and interviews with city council members and the mayor Thursday and Friday.

The Fort Lauderdale city commission is expected to decide on its top pick for its city manager position Tuesday. Mr. Kolb had already received the most votes among candidates by commissioners before interviews started.

The job in Fort Lauderdale, which has a population of 167,000, has a pay range of $185,000 to $250,000. Mr. Kolb's salary in Augusta is $127,187.

On the resume he sent to Wichita officials, Mr. Kolb stated he has city management experience in Michigan, Virginia and Georgia. He stated he has a bachelor of business administration-marketing degree from Eastern Michigan University and a masters degree in public administration-urban administration from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of the senior executives in state and local government program from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3904 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.'s city commission is expected to decide on their top pick for their city manager position on Tuesday. Augusta City Administrator George Kolb will fly to Wichita, Kan., the same day to be interviewed later that week for Wichita's city manager position.