Monthly Archives: April 2008

Brewer recommends Kolb for Durham, N.C. job

BrewerAbout four months ago, Mayor Carl Brewer accepted former city manager George Kolb’s resignation, citing “philosophical differences.” This week, he told, that he would recommend Kolb for the city manager position in Durham, N.C., where Kolb is one of three finalists.

“He was passionate about his direction, and we were passionate about ours, and he decided to go his way, and we went our way,” Brewer told The News and Observer Monday.

Former Mayor Carlos Mayans was not so kind. “He’s a very charming person, but very, very divisive,” Mayans told the North Carolina newspaper.

Kolb’s past confronts him in Durham, N.C.

Kolb in Durham, N.C.As Durham, N.C. narrows its list of finalists for city manager, each of the candidates is being pressed to explain why they were ousted from their previous cities, according to today’s story in The News and Observer. During a Monday night forum designed to let community members there meet the three finalists for city manager, reporters pressed former Wichita city manager George Kolb to respond to criticisms about his communication with council members, confrontations with Sunflower Community Action and why he was forced to resign in January. (Kolb has since been working as a guest lecturer at Wichita State University.)

Kolb, no stranger to these questions, defended himself as he has in the past. He said he keeps council members informed, handled Sunflower appropriately and resigned because of “philosophical differences.” But he also used his community interview to boast the progress he felt he facilitated in Wichita.

Prompted by community member questions, Kolb said minority contractors obtained about 10 percent more city business under his watch, which appears to be true — or close to it — based on the most recent city-generated reports. He also highlighted the city’s partnership with private philanthropists to build the Boys and Girls Club on 21st Street. (Kolb said it’s a model for the nation, but he didn’t mention that President Bush liked the idea so much he came out to see it.) And he said if he gets the job in Durham, he will hold himself and city staff accountable. “People ought to be held accountable for what they say they’re going to do,” he told the crowd.

Kolb, who said he felt has been mis-characterized in past Eagle articles, also seemed to acknowledge that being city manager is a job done under intense pressure, and that it’s not always pretty. “Sometimes these things can be boring,” he said of the community forum. “We’re not professional actors. We’re not professors who stand before a class, although some of them can be boring too.”

Old Town’s story — through the city’s eyes

The city

Wichita is in the running for the American Planning Association’s 10 “Great Neighborhoods.”

Wondering why? Check out the city’s video, one of their more extensive productions. You’ll hear a bit of developer David Burk, a bit of former Mayor Bob Knight and some old school footage showing what Old Town used to look like.

The winners won’t be announced until October — AKA National Community Planning Month.