TOPEKA (KSNT) — Topeka’s new interim fire chief Tim Wayne is just 8 days out from starting his new position.
But many want to know why the city has chosen someone from the outside, instead of searching within.
Last week the City of Topeka announced Tim Wayne as the city’s Interim Fire Chief. Replacing current chief Greg Bailey. Bailey announced his retirement two weeks ago.
Wayne is the Deputy Fire Chief in Goodyear, Arizona and happens to be well-acquainted with Topeka’s city manager Jim Colson. The two worked for the city of Glendale when Colson was their deputy city manager and Wayne served as deputy fire chief.
The Topeka City Council found out about Colson’s hire just an hour before a press release was sent to the local news media.
KSNT News reached out to Colson’s reps Monday afternoon for an interview. Instead we communicated via email with the city’s media relations director.
In the email Colson says referring to Wayne, “He is highly respected and was referred by a top chief… We believe that it was important to bring somebody from the outside for the interim role.”
“Why aren’t we using people from the inside as the interim?” questions Topeka City Council-member Sandra Clear. “Why is it someone from Arizona and not Kansas?”
KSNT News contacted the City of Goodyear, Arizona to get more answers, and was told by the current fire chief of Goodyear that “Colson reached out to Goodyear City Manager Brian Dalke in January about an executive loan for Wayne. Tim would be “loaned” to the City of Topeka with the contractual expectation of him returning to the City of Goodyear in the capacity of deputy fire chief. He will remain an employee of the City of Goodyear, and that the City of Topeka will pay his salary and benefits.”
That’s more than $13,000 per month, plus paying $429 for the person filling in for Wayne in Arizona. That’s a total of about $81,600 just for 6 months.
And the city will continue to pay Chief Bailey his current salary of $110,972.
“I’m hoping at the next council meeting March 1st we will have the time, which will be our opportunity to ask. I hope it is on the agenda. If it’s not I’ll ask anyway because I want to know. I want to know just like the constituents do. Is this our only option?” says Clear.
Wayne will start his new role march 1st.