Candidates are in for Overland Park’s new city manager — Here’s what happens next

Overland Park city hall building

After applications closed last month, a screening committee began the process of deciding on a new city manager for Overland Park this week. Image courtesy of City of Overland Park website.

Overland Park is on its way to finding a new city manager.

Applications to fill the vacancy created by Bill Ebel’s retirement earlier this year officially closed last month, and the city’s specially appointed screening committee began reviewing candidates this week. 

What happens next: The pool has been narrowed down to eight candidates, according to members of the committee. Those candidates will be invited to submit video responses to questions the city has prepared. 

From there, the screening committee will choose four or five candidates to invite for in-person interviews in a couple of weeks. 

Those candidates will be interviewed by Mayor Curt Skoog and the rest of the screening committee, but  the final decision for selecting a new city manager will be left up to the full City Council.

Who decides: The screening committee for the city manager position is chaired by Mayor Curt Skoog and City Council President Paul Lyons.

The committee’s 10 members also include members of the city council, the city’s planning commission and other community leaders. 

The city is also working with talent recruitment and consulting firm Baker Tilly to find and screen candidates. 

What the city wants: Some of the qualities listed in the city’s job listing for the city manager position include “outstanding communication skills” and a collaborative working style, on top of a Bachelor’s degree in Public or Business Administration. 

Ideally, the candidate would also have several years of experience in administrative work. 

Holly Grummert, a committee member and Ward 1 councilmember, said a good city manager would be someone who can not only tackle things like management and the city’s budget but who can connect with the community’s businesses and other organizations. 

“Honestly, you don’t realize quite all that the city manager does until you get here and really begin to see the scope of what they do,” she said. “It really is just an all-encompassing kind of job.”

Sam Passer, another committee member and Ward 5 councilmember, said the committee has been impressed by the candidates reviewed so far. 

He said a good city manager for Overland Park is someone who can lead the city’s staff effectively, get out and engage with residents and bring a new perspective to the city’s direction. 

“In addition to being an effective communicator and a manager, I like to see someone with a little vision,” he said. “Whether that’s how to leverage technology to be more efficient or whether it’s someone that can bring a strong lens to diversity or conservation. I’d like to have someone that has some thoughts about what we can do to continue to move the city forward.”

View a full profile for the position here

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly referred to this committee as a “selection committee.” The purpose of this committee is to screen city manager candidates, but the final selection will be up the city council.