I have just returned from a trip to China to encourage trade and cultivate business relationships for our community – a community of which I am very proud. That prides also extends to our City of Wichita employees.
While I was away, it appears that my comments to a reporter with The Wichita Eagle created unintended consequences. Because of that, I want to apologize to all City employees. It was not my intention to ignite a story that was as critical or one that gave the impression that I am not confident in the work that you do. I take full responsibility for my comments and not ensuring that the conversation included all of the incredible good that is done.
Every day, city staff makes our community better for our citizens, whether that is by endangering their own lives through the work of public safety, ensuring clean water, improving street conditions, providing recreation programs, or serving our most vulnerable citizens. Certainly there are also numerous other tasks that go unnoticed.
As everyone knows, people make mistakes. But in this building, and under the leadership of City Manager Robert Layton, we use mistakes as tools to learn from and build upon, moving forward with pride and trust. The work of public service is not easy, especially when most of you are going beyond the call of duty, working longer and harder in the face of budget cuts that reduced our staff numbers. I want you to know that I recognize the sacrifices you have made and continue to make as public employees and that I value your work. I want you to know that I have confidence in you and that I am proud of you. And I thank you for your continuing dedication to serving the public.
In terms of City Manager Robert Layton, he has served us well in more ways than I can say. Wichita is better off under his leadership than we were prior to his hiring, and I have full faith and confidence in his ability to continue to lead us.
Thank you for allowing me to clarify my posture. I’m happy to be back in Wichita and am ready for all us, as a unified team, to get back to work!