The long search for Wichita's next city manager is now over. Urbandale, Iowa City Manager Robert Layton announces he will take the city's top job ending a bitter city council battle.
Layton had been struggling for the last two weeks over whether to take the job here. That's why he and his wife decided to make a surprise visit flying out over the weekend to take one more look at Wichita and talk one more time with the mayor. On Monday morning he called the mayor and let him know what he decided.
"The conversation went Mayor I made a decision I'm going to accept the position," said Mayor Carl Brewer.
While out here interviewing for the job Layton said he fell in love with Wichita years ago when he brought his son here for a hockey tournament. But actually landing the city's top spot was bittersweet.
The council chose him from the top three candidates by only a four to three vote after a very intense debate between council members behind closed doors.
Even in announcing the decision, the mayor and Vice-Mayor Sue Schlapp clearly showed their support for Sedgwick County Manager Bill Buchanon. There were also concerns Layton, who currently manages a much smaller city, might not be up to the challenges of Wichita's city government.
But Layton tells KAKE News Monday afternoon he feels good about finally making the decision to come to Wichita and says he has no lingering concerns about the vote.
"I feel good. I'm excited about moving forward and the opportunity to move to Wichita and to be part of making Wichita a strong community," said Layton.
Moving forward is just what the council wants to do by putting this issue that has deeply divided them behind them.
"I just think it's a thing that's happened. We put it behind us and we move on like professionals," said City Council Member Jim Skelton.
The council will start contract negotiations with Layton this week. There is no time-line yet on when he will actually start work at city hall.