Derby has its next city manager, and it didn’t have to search far and wide to find him.
In a special meeting on Aug. 27, the Derby City Council formally approved an employment agreement with current deputy city manager Kiel Mangus to serve as the next city manager – following Kathy Sexton’s pending retirement.
Sexton announced her intent to retire (on Dec. 10, 2021) in mid-July, leading the city council to start the search for her replacement. Discussing preferences among council members in an initial executive session, council president Nick Engle said the general consensus was to focus the hiring process internally.
While there was some discussion regarding which candidates to look at among current city staff, Mangus quickly came to the forefront and was the only candidate officially interviewed. Engle noted the council would have expanded the search externally if necessary. Wanting to do its due diligence before spending taxpayer money (on advertising, hiring a search firm, etc.), there was also a push to make an expedient decision – especially seeing Mangus as an ideal candidate.
“At this point, we were comfortable that we had a viable candidate as we went through the process internally,” Engle said. “Much like Occam’s razor, we determined that the simplest solution was also the best solution, or perhaps more aptly I think we were fortunate that the best solution also happened to be the simplest one.”
“We spent a lot time thinking this over and evaluating our options,” said council member Andrew Swindle. “We have a lot of confidence that we are making the best decision for Derby going forward.
Per the employment agreement, Mangus will earn an annual salary of $145,000, among other benefits. That will be a slightly lower expense for the city compared to Sexton’s current annual salary of $167,257 with 16 years of experience.
Mangus will take over as city manager after serving as deputy city manager in Derby since November 2018. Prior to that, he worked as assistant city manager in Manhattan for four and a half years. He also previously worked as Director of Public Works in Frederick, Colo., and earned his master’s degree in public administration at Wichita State University after getting his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University. He is a native of Mulvane.
“I’m honored and humbled to be able to serve as the next city manager in Derby,” Mangus said. “I think in my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a few different communities and I would say that Derby is the best one I’ve been fortunate to work at and now get a chance to lead as the city manager.”
Now that a decision has been made in hiring the next city manager, Mangus and the council will have the next three months to find his replacement. Additionally, with Sexton continuing to serve through December, Mangus said he will continue to use her as a resource and better accommodate himself with the day-to-day operations and community contacts.
Challenges may lie ahead, as with any growing community, but both Engle and Mangus commended Sexton’s work over the past 16 years and how that will help influence the next chapter under Mangus’ leadership.
“We’re fortunate to have had Kathy. Of course, we’re sad to see her go and wish her the best on her next adventures. We’re confident that she’s going to do a tremendous job of handing off the baton to Kiel and Kiel’s going to do a tremendous job of accepting that baton and getting those next steps taken care of,” Engle said.
“Moving forward, I just want to continue to build upon the foundation that’s been laid here,” Mangus said, “and I look forward to working with the council and the residents of Derby as we move into the future.”