Great Bend city administrator announces retirement

Howard Partington (Photo courtesy KSN News)

GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) – The city administrator of Great Bend announced his retirement Wednesday.

Howard Partington said his retirement will be effective as of 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.

The following statement was released:

Effective 5 pm today, August 16th, I am announcing my retirement from my position as city administrator of the City of Great Bend.

I have dedicated the past nearly 36 years to serving this community and looked forward to retirement early next year, However, the recent actions of a loud and malicious minority including bullying, relentless harassment, threats, and untrue comments made about me have caused great pain to my family. This group has chosen to turn a policy dispute into a very personal attack on me and other officials. These malicious attacks have taken a devastating toll on my health, my wife’s health and the health of my daughter. Therefore, I find it necessary to take this action today.

I am 67 years old, a United States Army veteran and a cancer survivor. Even though these harassing attacks have been the most difficult challenge I have faced in my life, I am still proud to have the support of the majority of the people in this community, and proud of the many projects I have been a part of with this city over the past years ….projects like the flood control project, helping retain major businesses such as CPI and Fuller Brush, major improvements to our water, sewer, and street infrastructure, and more recently the development of the Wetlands Water Park and the Great Bend Sports Complex. We are also in the process of developing numerous current and future projects. I am proud of the City’s solid financial position a s I leave and of the carefully managed city portion of property taxes which favor the taxpayers of this community.

But the greatest joy I have truly experienced here has been the people I have been privileged to work with, the outstanding employees,  the dedicated department heads, the supportive governing body members and the great people of Great Bend…you have made my years here fulfilling. Thank You Great Bend for letting me serve you as your city administrator for so many years. We have found and will always appreciate the many friends we have in this community which has been our home for so long. My family and I will always care for this wonderful community and wish the very best for it.

Howard D. Partington Great Bend

Partington’s retirement comes after the Great Bend City Council’s decision to suspend Great Bend Police Chief Cliff Couch.

Partington’s announcement didn’t come as much of a surprise to Councilman Cory Zimmerman.

“I kind of knew, he was talking about retiring at the end of the year, I knew with everything going on and his health deteriorating that it was something that was going to happen sooner,” said Zimmerman.

With Partington retiring, it leaves a lot of vacant positions to fill.

“As far as I know, we have City Administrator, Police Chief and Fire Chief are all open at the moment,” said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman admits he doesn’t know who will immediately take over those positions, something he says will need to be discussed further.

“Although we do have a lot of positions open, we will work to get them filled and we will continue to have daily operations and try to do what is best for the community,” said Zimmerman.

While Partington is retiring amidst allegations, Zimmerman doesn’t want people to forget everything he accomplished, in his more than 35 years of service to the city of Great Bend.

KSN did reach out to Partington, as well as Mayor Mike Allison and Chief Couch for comment.

However, none of our calls were returned.

Zimmerman says he’s spoken with other council members about holding an emergency meeting, as soon as Thursday, to discuss their next course of action.

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