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Palmer appoints second city administrator

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Mark Varsel
The Ellis County Press
PALMER - Palmer City Council once again finds itself in a quandary as the mayor, some council members and citizens express disagreement at the appointment of a new city administrator. The city has been without an administrator since the sudden departure of a former police chief, turned city administrator, Stephen Sparks.

At the heart of the disagreement was the status of an offer of the administrator position to Mayor Don Huskins. That offer was put forward under a motion made by former Councilman John Hancock. The membership of council has since changed.

Huskins said the offer was made by council, 'in good faith,' contingent on him 'tying up some lose ends' associated with his personal business.

'It's on the tapes' he said, referring to the taped transcripts of all council meetings. 'They made the offer to me and it's never been rescinded. They now have two city administrators under contract.'
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After returning from executive session, the council passed motions to adopt a new city administrator ordinance and to approve a contract for city administrator. A 'point of order' was declared by mayoral hopeful Greg Penny.

'Hasn't council already extended an offer of a contract to Don Huskins?' Penny went on to admonish council that their action would be opening up the city to civil litigation because it was offering a second contact while the first was still in force.

Councilman Michael Greenlee responded to Penny in sharp retort, 'Since when have you been concerned about drawing the city into litigation? To which Penny replied, 'I've never sued this city!' The verbal sparring continued with both men exhibiting sharp differences on the matter.

As the disagreement subsided, council proceeded with the appointment of Doug Young as the new city administrator. Afterwards, Penny approached Young and advised him that straightening out this mess would be his first order of business after accepting the administrator position.

Asked what his response would be, Huskins said 'I have four days to sign the new ordinance. I don't have to sign it. It can't become law until I do. I can kick it back to council. They never addressed the offer they extended to me.'

Huskins is not running for reelection.

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