Topeka governing body continues efforts to choose new city manager

The five finalists for the vacant city manager’s position, are, from left, Jeffrey Dingman, David Hales, Doug Gerber, Jason Gage and Brent Trout. (File/Submitted photos)

Topeka governing body members weren’t revealing publicly what happened after they met behind closed doors in executive session for 35 minutes late Tuesday while continuing to work to choose a new city manager.


The governing body, which consists of the nine city council members and Mayor Larry Wolgast, adjourned the session — and their evening meeting — at 9:20 p.m. No formal action was taken regarding filling the city manager’s position, Wolgast said.

The governing body is seeking to replace former city manager Jim Colson, who resigned last October to return home to Arizona. Doug Gerber, Topeka’s former deputy city manager, has since been serving as interim city manager.

The five finalists being considered to replace Colson are Gerber, who has been since with the city since 2014; Jeffrey Dingman, deputy city administrator since 2011 for Fort Smith, Ark.; Jason Gage, Salina’s city manager since 2005; David Hales, city manager since 2008 for Bloomington, Il..; and Brent Trout, city administrator since 2007 for Mason City, Iowa.

Topeka’s city government said in a news release prior to Tuesday’s meeting: “There is no anticipation to narrow the field further and no formal action will be taken this evening relating to this matter. No one will be announced as the final candidate until an employment contract is agreed upon and presented to the governing body for consideration and approval.”

The governing body spent nearly 12 1/2 hours behind closed doors in executive session on July 22 interviewing the finalists and discussing their qualifications. They then continued that conversation for about three hours and 45 minutes on July 28.

Wolgast said after the July 28 meeting that the governing body had asked a representative of Strategic Government Resources, the Keller, Texas-based search firm that’s helping it find a city manager, to acquire and provide it more information needed to proceed.

Contact reporter Tim Hrenchir at (785) 295-1184 or @timhrenchir on Twitter