By Travis Mounts
GODDARD – Former Goddard city administrator Brian Silcott has a new employer.
Silcott was named on March 6 as the new city manager for the City of Ottawa in northeast Kansas. He served 15 years in Goddard. Before that, he was city manager for Osage City and city administrator for Sterling, and had experience in both Wichita and Wellington.
“We are thrilled to bring Mr. Silcott on as our next city manager,” said Mayor Eric Crowley. “We had a strong group of candidates, but Brian’s keen understanding of effective city government and local governance in Kansas, along with his management experience, make him a great fit to lead our city operations.”
Silcott was chosen from a field of 26 candidates from 11 states and Canada.
“I’m honored to be offered this opportunity to serve the city, its governing body and its citizens,” said Silcott. “I am eager to start working with all segments of the community to support the values and priorities embraced by Ottawa. My wife, Mary Elizabeth, our son, Holton, and I are looking forward to making Ottawa our home.”
Silcott was fired from his position with the City of Goddard on Jan. 17, just one of several surprises that happened at that night’s city council meeting. Before Silcott was fired, council members removed one of their own, Larry Zimmerman, as mayor. Zimmerman then immediately quit the council altogether. Hunter Larkin was then reappointed as mayor, a position he stepped down from last spring after questions were brought to light about fundraising for a legislative campaign.
The next day, assistant city administrator Thatcher Moddie resigned. Shortly after that, an effort to recall Larkin as mayor and city council member was launched by a community group. Then in February, Larkin said he would not be seeking re-election later this year.
Although Goddard had a city administrator many years ago, it had been operating without one before Silcott was hired. Since Silcott started his position in Goddard in 2008, the city government has grown from 14 to 30 employees. The city population roughly doubled, to more than 5,000, according to the 2020 census, and is on pace to reach as many as 10,000 in a few years, thanks to multiple housing developments that are planned or under construction. Goddard also has seen its STAR bond project – with a Genesis Health Club, ballfields, Blast Off Bay indoor water park, and more – come to fruition. The city also welcomed Walmart, Murphy USA convenience store, Dairy Queen and Braum’s to the Goddard Galleria development, and Starbucks has started construction.
The Goddard City Council has currently split administrative duties among three employees. The council has scheduled a March 20 workshop to further discuss hiring a full-time replacement for Silcott. Larkin said previously that the city does not plan to fill Moddie’s position.
Ottawa is considerably larger than Goddard, with a population of 12,625, according to the 2020 census, which is down 0.2 percent from 2010. It is the county seat for Franklin County and is near the Kansas City metropolitan area, about 30 miles southwest of Olathe on Interstate 35. Ottawa is about 150 miles from Goddard.