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Commissioners Hire Tom Stolz As Sedgwick County Manager

Sedgwick County
Tom Stolz is the new Sedgwick County Manager.

Sedgwick County commissioners hired a county manager Wednesday.

Tom Stolz will earn more than $180,000 a year in salary and benefits. His contract is for 18 months, and includes performance reviews before the agreement can renew for another term.

Commissioner Michael O’Donnell says the county’s staff is excited to have Stolz continue as the county manager.

"Not only is it going to help the community, but the 2,500-3000 people that we employ, they need your leadership," O'Donnell told Stolz during a meeting Wednesday.

Stolz was appointed to the county's highest non-elected position on an interim basis in December. Commissioners decided earlier this month to skip a nationwide search and move forward with hiring Stolz permanently.

Stolz replaced Mike Scholes, who reached a resignation settlement with the county in December amid legal turmoil. Scholes received more than $200,000 in the settlement, the equivalent of about nine months' worth of salary and benefits. He also released Sedgwick County from any legal claims he could bring.

Scholes’ annual salary was listed in county documents as $189,625.

Stolz was a top candidate during the nationwide search process in 2015 when commissioners hired Scholes.  Commissioners approved the agreement with Stolz with a unanimous vote at their meeting Wednesday.

“I had numerous unsolicited positive comments about this direction [Stolz’s hiring]," said Commissioner Pete Meitzner. "And I was waiting for the one negative comment to receive, but I never received one directly from anybody in the community."

Stolz worked more than 30 years for the Wichita Police Department. After retiring in 2012, he became the first director of the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department, a joint department between the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County.

He went on to work for Sedgwick County in several roles beginning in 2016.

Sedgwick County still needs to fill the county counselor position. Eric Yost reached a resignation settlement with the county in November. Former Assistant County Counselor Mike Pepoon is currently serving as the interim county counselor.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.