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Fort Scott city manager resigns, interim and assistant city manager selected

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FORT SCOTT, Kan. — After serving less than a year in the position, Fort Scott’s city manager has resigned, and the city commission this week approved hiring an interim city manager and assistant city manager. 

City Manager Kelley Zellner submitted his letter of resignation Sept. 15, and on Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Fort Scott City Commission approved his resignation, although the commissioners did not approve his severance package, according to the Fort Scott Tribune. Zellner reportedly started his job as city manager on Jan. 4, and is now leaving to take a position as city administrator for the City of Caney in Montgomery County. 

Also on Tuesday, the commission approved hiring Jeff Hancock of Camdenton, Missouri, as the new interim city manager, and Brad Matkin as assistant city manager. Hancock was previously contracted as Fort Scott’s interim city manager following Dave Martin’s resignation in the fall of 2020. Matkin will additionally continue to serve as the city’s human resources manager, the Tribune reported. 

Zellner’s contract with the city reportedly stipulated that in the event of his termination, the city would pay “a lump sum cash payment equal to 40 days aggregate salary, any accumulated vacation and sick leave,” but included an exception if the termination was due to “any unethical or improper act involving personal gain to him” and required Zellner to give 45 days advance notice if he intended to voluntarily resign. 

 Zellner’s annual salary with the City of Fort Scott was $95,000, while his salary at the City of Caney will be $85,000, plus benefits. Zellner is expected to start his new job in Caney in late October, according to the Tribune, but he had not yet officially accepted the position as of Tuesday, as his separation from the City of Fort Scott was not complete without a severance agreement approved. 

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners also discussed the process for replacing Josh Jones, who resigned from the commission the same day Zellner submitted his resignation letter. The commissioners on Tuesday reportedly finalized an amendment to the ordinance that governs how the city fills vacancies on the commission. Jones’ resignation marks the third time this year that the commission has had to appoint a new commissioner to fill a vacancy, according to the Tribune. 

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