Topeka City Manager finalists announced

The City of Topeka’s Governing Body has selected four candidates to interview for the Topeka City Manager position.

About the candidates

Mike Harmon earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Northern Iowa and later earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of South Dakota with a concentration in state and local government administration. After Mike’s formal education, he went on to pursue a career in public service and has over twenty-four years of combined governmental experience at the state and local level. During Mike’s career he served as a police officer in the capital city of Pierre, SD and later as a city administrator for Fairfield, IA and Spearfish, SD. Mike currently serves as the chief operating officer for an electric utility in Wyoming and is eager to return to public service and to be nearer to his extended family.

David Johnston has over 25 years of local government management experience. He served as the City Manager for Covington, Kentucky and Maple Valley, Washington. Covington is a rejuvenating historic Ohio River community located across from Cincinnati. He served as the village administrator for Rantoul, Illinois – home of the closed Chanute Air Force Base. David holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Public Affairs degree from Indiana University. He also earned a certificate of economic development from the University of Oklahoma. He is an International City Manager Association (ICMA) Credentialed Manager.

Stephen Wade is a Shawnee Heights graduate and a Topeka resident. He serves as the Director of Administrative and Financial Services for the City of Topeka. Stephen spent 30 years in the media industry and has extensive experience at the CEO level. He was formerly the publisher of The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Georgia. Stephen holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Kansas and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Florida Institute of Technology. He is currently working on an academic research project that calls for a greater emphasis on equity in municipal budgeting. Stephen currently serves on the board of directors for the Topeka Community Foundation, and he previously held board seats on Go Topeka and the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce.

Abbe Yacoben is currently the Deputy Finance Director and City Treasurer for the City of Las Vegas,
Nevada where she has served for the past five and a half years. She has nearly 20 years of municipal
government leadership experience, and has held roles in Arizona, Illinois and her home state of Maine.
Abbe has a Master’s degree in Public Policy with a finance concentration from the University of Chicago,
and she is a Certified Public Finance Officer. Abbe is passionate about and skilled at leadership, teambuilding,
open communication, working with different public groups and ensuring the City’s initiatives
truly improve quality of life for all residents and stakeholders.

Interview process

The candidates will participate in two interview panels on Tuesday, August 30. One interview panel will
be with the Governing Body, and the other will be with community stakeholders.

Public meet and greet

In addition to the interview panels, the candidates will also attend a public meet and greet. Community
members are invited to attend the meet and greet, which will take place on Tuesday, August 30 from
5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Bishop Professional Development Center located at 3601 SW 31st St. Light
refreshments will be provided at the event.

Attendees will be able to provide feedback on the candidates to the Governing Body by filling out
comment cards at the meet and greet, or by emailing comments to

Recruitment process

Kansas Personnel Services, Inc., doing business as Premier Employment Solutions and Key Staffing, led
the recruitment campaign for the Topeka City Manager position.

40 candidates applied for the position. Of the 40 candidates, 13 had ties to Kansas. After review of all
candidates, the Governing Body selected the above four candidates to interview.