By BECKY KISER
Hays City Commissioner Chris Dinkel announced his resignation, effective June 20, 2018, during Thursday night’s commission work session.
Dinkel has been accepted to Columbia Law School and will move with his family, wife Ervis and son Liam, to New York City to start classes this fall.
In a letter to Mayor James Meier which he read aloud, Dinkel said he “chose to vacate my seat early to allow the commission to select my replacement before this year’s budget process begins rather than as it ends.”
Dinkel said he originally intended to serve through the end of the 2019 budget process, but must be in New York prior to the final budget vote.
“I hope that the timing of my resignation will allow whomever you choose to fill this seat to feel that they have had ample opportunity for input in the budget process before voting on the finished product in August.”
After thanking Dinkel for his service and wishing him well, the other four commissioners discussed how to fill the vacant seat.
Previously, vacancies have been dealt with by appointment or through an application process. The commissioners decided to ask for interested Hays residents to contact one of them.
“There are a number of people in the community that have been voicing lots of opinions about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, and maybe there’s people that would like to apply,” said Commissioner Sandy Jacobs.
Both Vice-Mayor Henry Schwaller and Commissioner Shaun Musil said they’d already been contacted by people who are interested.
“I’m happy to talk to anybody,” said Meier. “I’m not going to ask anybody. If this is something you want to do, then you need to express an interest in doing it, and not expect somebody to reach out to you.
“Being a commissioner is a responsibility to serve, and not just showing up,” Musil added, although he noted that sometimes missing a meeting was unavoidable. “It’d be nice to get somebody who really cares about the community, wants to do good for the community. And we all come in different shapes.”
Dinkel is the marketing coordinator for High Plains Mental Health Center, Hays, and also an adjunct professor of history at Fort Hays State University.
Interested persons should contact a city commissioner by June 20. Email addresses are available on the city’s website. Kansas statutes require a vacancy of the city commission to be filled within 10 days of the leaving commissioner’s official written resignation.
City Manager Toby Dougherty said Dinkel’s replacement could be seated at the June 28 commission meeting.
According to Hays City Clerk Brenda Kitchen Dinkel’s term ends in 2020.