City Manager's
Weekly Report

May 3, 2013

Information for the governing body:

May 7th Meeting, 6:00 p.m., City Council Chambers - agenda linked below.

          Work Session, 5:15 p.m.

               Charter Ordinance Designation of Acting City Manager - Jim Colson

               Fireworks Vendor Process Update - Fire Marshal Greg Moody


                Bike Month - accepted by Karen Hiller, Chair, Bikeways Committee

                Community Action Month - accepted by Phyllis Marmon

                Public Service Recognition Week - City Employees

May 14th Meeting - preliminary agenda posted below.

Governing Body Retreat

The Governing Body's retreat is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 4th, in the Holliday Conference Room, 620 SE Madison.

Agenda Items

Item 5A/Demolition Permit Request - 700 SE Lime Street

The Topeka Landmarks Commission and Planning Department recommend denial of the permit request in order for the East Topeka United Methodist church building to be preserved and NOT demolished. 

Item 5B/Ordinance - Funeral Processions

This is a cleanup to the ordinance that would require the driver of every vehicle in a funeral procession to yeild the right-of-way to an approaching emergency vehicle.

Item 5C/Ordinance - Neighborhood Conservation Districts

A neighborhood conservation district (NCD) is intended to help preserve character-defining features of a neighborhood’s physical and built environment.  An NCD serves to promote compatible new construction, alterations, and demolitions within the district in order to strengthen and build upon the existing physical features.

Design standards within each NCD would be enforceable as part of the municipal code.  No building permit shall be issued within a designated NCD without the submission and approval of design plans and the issuance of a Zoning Compliance Permit by the Topeka Planning Department.

An NCD can be initiated by a majority of the property owners, the Planning Commission, or the Governing Body, after the plan is approved by the area's neighborhood organization.  At least 2 public information meetings shall be held and noticed to all affected property owners in the proposed NCD area.

Item 5D/Ordinance Vacating Streets, Alleys


This ordinance establishes the process by which a person – usually a property owner - can request that the City vacate a public right-of-way (e.g. street, alley, easement) so that the property reverts to the adjoining property owner.  The City Clerk and the Planning Department are requesting amendments that streamline the process and conform the ordinance to actual practice. These include 1) submitting the application to the Planning Department instead of the City Clerk and 2) making the Planning Department responsible for coordinating responses with reviewing agencies instead of the applicant. There are no substantive changes.

Item 6B/Resolution - Personnel Code Amendment - Article 10, Grievance

Under the current language of Article X of the Personnel Code, the last step in the grievance process is to submit the grievance to arbitration.  This involves the appointment of an outside arbitrator, often from out of state, which would involve payment of the arbitrator’s travel expenses in addition to the arbitrator’s fees ranging from $800 to $1500 per day.  The entire cost of the arbitration is required to be paid by the City if the grievance involves disciplinary action. 


The proposed amendments to the Personnel Code replaces arbitration as the final step in the grievance process with review by a grievance committee.  The grievance committee is composed of one member selected by the grievant, one member selected by the department head, with the  third member agreed upon by the first two members or selected from a list maintained by Human Resources.   The Committee will hear both sides of the grievance and then prepare a report and recommendation for consideration by the City Manager whose decision will be final.  The proposal will allow for more flexible resolutions to grievances, as well as eliminate the costs associated with an outside arbitrator.  The grievance procedures set forth in union contracts are not affected by this proposed change.