Kingman city manager fired over 'policy disagreement'

Published On: Jan 10 2014 06:13:47 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 10 2014 06:01:41 PM CST

The city manager of the town of Kingman is out of a job.  The city commissioners voted 3-2 Thursday to fire Frank Soukup.

"A lot of the duration of the meeting was spent in executive session," said City Commissioner Charlus Bishop. "The content of that can't be discussed. The contract [of the city manager] can be terminated for any reason and at any time. That was the decision of the council last night."

After the vote, Soukup was escorted out of the meeting.

Kingman mayor Liz Madden, said commissioners fired Soukup over a 'policy disagreement.' She couldn't comment further stating the discussion happened in an executive session and the details are personnel matters.

"It was a very emotional decision," said Madden. "I was on the commission when Frank got hired and that made it even tougher to vote against him because he did a good job. We just had some disagreements over policy. I think that's the simplest way to put it."

This comes just a week after Kingman's police chief Marc Holloway resigned. Eyewitness News spoke with Soukup on Thursday about the resignation who said it was a personnel matter and no charges have been filed at the time, but wouldn't comment on camera.

Mayor Madden said the two incidents are not connected. Holloway attended the city commission meeting Thursday night, but only to discuss some questions commissioners had about his situation. She said those discussions were also in executive session and can't be discussed with the public.

Now the community will move forward in trying to fill both positions.

The mayor is in contact with a possible interim city manager who would come to help with the hiring of a new city manager. He is expected to be at the commissions next meeting on January 23rd. She didn't want to comment on a name, but said he is well respected in the state of Kansas and is a retired city manager who has helped with projects with Kingman in the past.

Until then, "the department heads will handle their own departments" for the next couple of weeks.

Longtime residents said this is the most change they've seen in awhile.

"Very, very shocking," said Ruth Lam who has lived in Kingman for 65 years. "The Seacat trial was very sad and it's just one thing after another now it seems. My children went to school here, they were raised here, I married in a church here. It was pretty heartbreaking."

"We've had some bad times and we've had some good times," said Butch Buchanan, another resident who's been in Kingman for 65 years. "I've heard some people talking. Some of it's kind of bad and other 'It's about time they've done something!'"

But both said they couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

"I like Kingman and it's a good place to live," said Buchanan.

"I couldn't say anything against this town," said Lam. "It's a good town, it's just had some bad publicity. I don't know what's happened. I would advise everyone to live here."

Commissioner Bishop said his concern is the negative feedback that has come with the recent changes.

"There's a log of negative, kind of bad emotions out there going on about the city, the police department, the commission," he said. "That's unproductive. There's a lot of good things about Kingman, the list is very long. And there are very few things that aren't good and need to be changed. Definitely need to be changed. And we are working on that."