The City of Topeka operates within a council-manager form of government. This system of local government combines the strong political leadership of elected officials in the form of a council, with the managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. The plan establishes a representative system where all power is concentrated in the elected council as a whole and where the council hires a professionally trained manager to oversee the delivery of public services.
Topeka’s city manager is Jim Colson, who started with the city in August 2012. Colson previously served as the Deputy City Manager for the City of Glendale, AZ which is one of Arizona’s largest cities. He was responsible for all community development services, such as planning, building safety, engineering, transportation, downtown redevelopment, community revitalization, the city’s airport and code compliance. As economic development director for the city from 1999-2003, he worked to create a world class destination city that today hosts Super Bowls, Fiesta Bowls, National Championship games, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox spring training and other world class events. Colson was one of the lead negotiators in creating Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment district that today hosts more than 6 million visitors each year.
Mr. Colson received his Masters of Arts in Theology from Western Seminary and a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan.
Under Mr. Colson’s lead, the City of Topeka is focusing on providing essential services to the community using the most efficient business practices available. The demands for services have not changed as well as the expectations for the highest quality of service. The City is constantly reviewing the business practices and striving for excellence to ensure that services are provided economically and effectively.