By Kalin Krohe, Panhandle Post
On April 6, the Alliance City Council voted to approve an employment agreement with Seth Sorensen as the new city manager.
Sorensen has been the city manager in Pecos, Texas for the last three years.
"Seth was one of our first finalists back in December," Alliance Mayor Mike Dafney said. "We did offer the job to him, which he reluctantly declined. I think there were a number of reasons...the timing at that particular time was bad being December with Christmas. And winter and the pandemic...and kids at school. It just wasn't a good time for him."
Dafney said during the following months, they developed a friendship.
"We just kind of stayed in touch," Dafney said. "He kind of knew what was going on. Most of it was just cordial. Once in awhile I'd take a shot at him and batter him a little bit that the job was still open. Last week before Easter, council decided we'd go get a consultant [Baker Tilly]. That was going to cost us $20,000 - $24,000. I thought well I'll take one more run at him. I texted him and said that offer is still out there. We're probably going to bring in a consultant after Tuesday. He texted back and wonder if he could still be considered. I told him certainly we'd still consider him. and I'd take it to council."
All of council voted to bring Sorensen on board to the city administration.
"I think he'll be an excellent fit," Dafney said. "The community he's in now is about 10,000 people, same as us, a little bit bigger. Like I said he was our first choice all along since the beginning. We liked him. We need to get a guy in here and get us down the road."
The search for a new city manager for Alliance has taken about 8 months. Panhandle Post asked Dafney why he thinks there's a high turnover rate for city managers.
"I'm going to guess maybe the pandemic played a part in it," Dafney said. "Managers may be in hot spots and kind of want to move maybe where it isn't so bad. It's been a unique situation here. It seems like the whole Panhandle around us was looking for a manager. Chadron is looking for one. Scottsbluff...Seth was a finalist over there. Gering and I believe Ogallala. It was a pretty competitive nature of business out there for us. It's just a deal where we stayed in touch and it kind of fell into place. "
In other business, council:
-Accepted the Rolling Prairie Disc Golf Course as the 2021 ACE Project of the Year. The city will be receiving $200 toward future community betterment projects.
-Approved the purchase agreement for Lot 1, Block 1, Lakefield Addition to Jacob and Megan Seeley for $6,531.50.
-Approved the Alliance Learning Center HVAC system evaluation bid award to Long Technologies of Casper, WY for $10,580. There will be a 10% contingency to allow for additional services. The total cost is substantially under what was originally budgeted for this project.