City manager retiring

Newton City Clerk Denise Duerksen, left, shares a laugh with Newton City Manager Bob Myers. Myers announced his retirement this week. Wendy Nugent/Newton Now

By Newton Now staff
After three years as City Manager and 35 years working with the city, Bob Myers has announced he will retire in January of 2020.

The announcement followed the completing of the 2020 City Budgeting process at Tuesday’s City Commission meeting.

“My decision to retire has not been an easy one,” Myers said in a press release. “I will miss working with the talented and dedicated people who lead the City’s various divisions and departments. I’m so proud of the service-oriented atmosphere we’ve worked together to establish throughout the City organization during the past three years.”

During Myers tenure Myers stressed the need for the city to budget properly, fully staff departments, and pay to retain talent. Myers stepped into the city in 2016 after former manager Randy Riggs was fired,  other administrative staff had left, and reserve accounts had shrank.

“When I was asked to assume the city manager position, the City organization was in some turmoil, and I wanted to do what I could to help ‘right the ship,’.”

City reserves did grow under Myers’ tenure, as did city budgets. During his time as manager, Myers emphasized supporting community events, having community pride and highlighting the achievements of community members.  A signature of Myers’ time in Newton was the regular recognition ceremonies held for residents and students at each commission meeting, that drew crowds and lifted up various people for their achievements.
““Newton has been my home for over 40 years, and I’m very invested in the community,” he said.

According to the release, Myers began as Newton’s city attorney in 1985, first on a part-time basis and then becoming the City’s first full-time, in-house city attorney in 2001. During his legal career, he also represented a number of other cities in the region.

The releases also stated that through his career:

Myers has played an active role in regional, state and national organizations, both municipal and legal, holding leadership positions and frequently speaking at conferences. He has been a member of the board of directors of the City Attorneys Association of Kansas since 2002, serving as its president 2011-2012. He was an organizer and original president of the South Central Kansas Water Coalition, which later merged with the Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP), and has remained active in that organization since its formation.

Myers’ community involvement includes being involved in the formation of the Harvey County Jobs Development Council, now known as the Harvey County Economic Development Council; serving on various boards of directors, including Bethel College and Friendly Acres Retirement Community (now Asbury Park); and providing pro bono legal services for the Harvey County Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Task Force (Safehope).

According to the release Myers will be spending more time with his family.

“It’s time to spend more time outdoors,” he said, “and to take my grandsons fishing.”

The process of selecting a new city manager will be determined by the City Commission in the coming weeks.