Monday, February 2, 2009
It's the first day on the job for Wichita's new city manager and Robert Layton already has a full plate of issues to deal with on his desk.
From a big budget gap to the recent layoffs, Layton has to hit the ground running. He does just that diving into his work bright and early Monday morning.
As the new head of City Hall Layton spends his first day meeting with staff, the mayor and council members. He spares a few minutes of his time to sit down and talk with the media about it all.
"I'm looking forward to getting deeper into the issues and getting to know the people," said Layton.
He has his work cut out for him. Layton just wrapped up the budget in Urbandale, Iowa, where he was city manager for 25 years, now it's time to start the whole process over again here in Wichita.
"The budget is the numbr one issue for this city. When we went through the intweviews we knew that revenues were starting to tail off but didn't know the magnitude of it and that's obviously changed since the time I was hired to today and that's going to take a lot of time and attention," said Layton.
With the city facing a budget deficit of hundreds of thousands of dollars Layton says he'll get together not only with the council but he also wants to hear from the community about what's important.
While facing tough decisions about cuts in city services, Layton says the public safety budget will stay intact and tax increases are off the table especially with the recent layoffs.
The city is already partnering with the United Way to help those workers. Layton thinks the city could expand those efforts even more. When it comes to all our problems, he says, being new does have its benefits.
"In some ways it makes it easier for me because I come in with a new eye and I can ask questions. When you're here you see the problems and I come here and I see opportunity. There's so many things to be excited about," said Layton.