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With a rather quick and simple vote, Ruth Hughs was elected by the new City Commission as Mayor of the City of Eudora. Hughs becomes the 48th Mayor of Eudora and the very first woman to hold the office in the city’s history.
While the exact length of her term was not stated nor decided upon, traditionally in the Commission-Manager form of government, the Mayor serves for one year as Mayor.
With some surprise, there was no discussion on how to choose a Mayor. In the weeks leading up to tonight’s City Commission meeting, the Commissioners had all stated individually that they had no idea how the decision would be made. It was expected that some sort of formula based on election results would be at least discussed. That discussion never happened.
The process began with the inauguration of incumbent Tim Reazin and new Commissioner Jolene Born. At that point, Mayor Hopson and Commissioner Bill Whitten left the dais as their terms came to a close with a thunderous applause from the audience. Born and Reazin took their seats and Hughs ran the meeting from that point as she was the President of the Commission.
Hughs’ first order of business was to have the Commission select a Mayor. Hughs said she would like to have a discussion and then entertain a motion. Hughs barely got the words out of her mouth when Commissioner Kenny Massey spoke up.
“My discussion is that I make a motion that we elect Ruth Hughs as Mayor,” Massey said.
With an even faster speed then Clark Kent changing into his Superman outfit, Reazin seconded the motion and the entire Commission voted in favor of Hughs. It took exactly 32 seconds (yes, we timed it) from the beginning of Hughs request for a discussion on the topic to Hughs being voted in as Mayor. (18 seconds of that was Hughs asking for a discussion on the matter.)
Next in the process was to select a Vice-Mayor. Massey spoke up again and nominated Commissioner John Fiore to serve as the first Vice-Mayor in the city’s history.
“I think with John’s experience with the Chamber of Commerce and other activities he has been involved within the community, he would be an excellent choice. I will make a motion to nominate John Fiore as Vice-Mayor,” Massey said.
The Vice-Mayor nomination had a much longer discussion. This one took the Commission 44 seconds to handle. Fiore’s nomination also passed unanimously.
“I’m honored for the opportunity to serve as the first female Mayor in the City of Eudora,” Hughs said following the meeting. “I look forward to working steadfastly to continue the momentum we have in place and I look forward to Eudora becoming the very best city we can be.”
Fiore also was humble in his nomination as Vice-Mayor.
“I appreciate the great confidence the Commission has in me,” Fiore said. “This truly is a great honor to serve our city.”
Commissioner Bill Whitten left immediately after the swearing in ceremony was complete. He made reference how he had his coveralls in the truck along with his ATV and was planning on going mushroom hunting following the ceremony. We think he was looking forward to retirement.
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Four years ago, Scott Hopson ran for and was elected Mayor of the City of Eudora. With the form of government change, the Mayor’s position is no longer chosen by the voters so Hopson ran, unsuccessfully, for a seat on the new City Commission. On the last full day of Scott Hopson’s term as Mayor we asked the Mayor to sit down and talk about his time at City Hall.
Q: What do you see as your biggest success as Mayor?
SH: As far as helping those most people, it was the cables. (He’s referring to the cable median barriers on K-10). It’s also the thing I got the most criticism for.
Q: Some people praised you for your work on the cable median barriers and there are many out there that say they were a big mistake. Do you still think getting cables out there was the best thing to do?
SH: Sure. The best part of the cables is that they have already saved lives. One of the things that I thought was really great was that one of the first people that were saved by them was a member of Tommy Shutt’s class. She graduated with Tommy and her family is from here. She hit the cable barriers in her new car in the snow and she has a couple of small children. It was right before Christmas. She’s here today and her family is not going through what Cainan’s family went through because of the cables.
Some of the criticism we got was using Cainan’s name and that came out of the family asking that Cainan’s name be put with those cables. That wasn’t something that we did. The family thought that if something good came out of those cables, Cainan didn’t die for nothing. I would think anybody that went through what they went through probably would feel the same way. The little boy died, but other people are going to survive and that’s what the cables did.
Those cables were put out there on that highway because a lot of people from a lot of different zip codes got involved. I got a lot of heat from my own city council, some members of the city council who thought they should be from city limit to city limit and that is all we should be worried about. I didn’t agree, I thought it should be the full length of K-10. A lot of people from a lot of places got involved with that, it wasn’t just us. We couldn’t have done it by ourselves.
Q: What did you want to accomplish that you were never able to get done?
SH: The Chamber (of Commerce). I wanted to grow the Chamber using De Soto as a model and that was a disappointment that I never got that done.
Q: What do you want to see done in regards to the Chamber of Commerce in the future?
SH: I want to see the Chamber evolve into a productive Chamber. I want see the other business owners in our community feel their membership fees get them a functioning Chamber. I want to see the growth of business continue.
Q: You have had people who love you and people who despise you. Looking back on it, are there things you would have done differently?
SH: I knew going in to being the Mayor that I have detractors and issues. I saw that from when I was on the Council. No, I would not have done anything different. Its unfortunate people either like or dislike you for whatever reason. I would wish at least they knew me because of a lot of people I hear don’t like me I have never talked to them or spoke to them. I don’t do that. I might hear this guy is a jerk or this is guy is good, but I generally go in and talk to them myself and make my own decision. I wish other people would do that, but the world is what it is.
Q: Your about to be a private citizen once again in less than a day. Besides the chamber, what else does Citizen Scott Hopson want to see going forward over the next few years?
SH: I want us to continue down the path that we paved over the last four years. When I was elected Mayor, the city was nearly bankrupt and we got it turned around and have the cities financial stability in a much better place now.
Q: Is they city where it needs to be or is there more work that needs to be done?
SH: There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but if you want to look at it from an infrastructure issue, we have an overlay program that we never had. Everybody complained that all we did was chip and seal and they lived on a gravel road for so many months until that chip and seal dissipated. From that stand point we have improved. Water quality has improved, city services have improved, we have a website and programs trying attract business to Eudora: Shop Eudora First, The Economic Developer position held most recently by Collin (Bielser) and Barack’s (Mattite) position as the City Management intern. All of those were things that when I came on board as Mayor I said this is what we need to move forward with and we did. We still have a long ways to go. As far as the City goes, you’ll never be done. There is always something to do.
Q: Is the end of Scott Hopson’s political career? Will we see you run again in two or four years?
SH: Who knows, I’ll never say never. I still care about Eudora, I still love Eudora. There are a lot of good people here. In two years, there still will be a lot of people that like to complain that don’t show up for the meetings. There still will be some folks that want to criticize and sling mud, but yet, they have done nothing themselves to make Eudora better. A person who runs for public office has to understand that because you have a bull’s-eye on you for any crackpot who wants to take a shot at you and you have to be an adult about it and not throw mud back. That’s just the way the game’s played.
Hopson’s term will come to an end with the swearing in of the new Commission members at Monday night’s City Commission meeting.
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The Eudora City Commission will meet once again and has an obviously important agenda with the swearing in of it’s newest member Jolene Born and incumbent Tim Reazin.
Here is the agenda in full for Monday night:
- OATH OF OFFICE – Tim Reazin and Jolene Born
- ELECT MAYOR
- ELECT VICE MAYOR
- Grandview Mobile Home Park Update
- Consider Sunflower Grant sidewalk location
- Consider landscaping and irrigation bid for public safety building
- Study session after business meeting regarding automatic meter reading
Obviously, we will be providing pictures of the oath of office and will report on whom is elected Mayor and Vice Mayor. We will also bring you anything important from the business meeting section.
The meeting at City Hall will get under way at 7:00 PM sharp. City Hall is located at 4 East 7th Street in downtown Eudora. The public is always welcome to attend.
Eudora News and Information - www.eudorareporter.com
Jolene Born came out the winner in the election for the Eudora City Commission. Born garnered 204 votes after the final tallies came in. Finishing second and winning re-election was Tim Reazin with 184 votes. Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson finished in third with 162 votes and Jerry Trober came in a distant fourth with 79.
“I’m very pleased to be serving the citizens of Eudora for the next four years,” Born said about her win. “I want to thank all those that came out and voted for me. ”
Born, who is a relative newcomer to the city having moved here three years ago, said that she plans on jumping right in and contributing quickly.
“I want to see exactly where we are at,” Born told us. “I look to continue all the projects that are currently in the works and help push them forward to completion.”
Tim Reazin who will serve his second term on the City Commission was also appreciative of the voters.
“I’m excited for the outcome. I’ve really enjoyed serving in Eudora and I appreciate the opportunity to serve a second term,” Reazin stated. “Our city has a very bright future and I’m glad to have a part in that future.”
Reazin acknowledged his opponents with positive comments.
“The mayor has done a great job helping our city move towards our future goals and I’m glad I had the opportunity to serve with him,” Reazin said. ”I look forward to a fresh face on the commission and would like to congratulate Jolene on her commission spot.”
With Born and Reazin on the Commission, Mayor Scott Hopson will face having another break from City offices. Hopson took a two year break between his previous term on the Eudora City Council and running for Mayor of Eudora in 2009.
“I’m really, really happy for Jolene,” Hopson said. ”But I feel like a big weight has been taken off my shoulders.”
When we asked Hopson about the reason behind his comment about his loss, he declined to give specifics about why he felt that way. Hopson, who did participate in the candidate forum sponsored by Eudorareporter.com, did not campaign as vigorously as he had in previous elections. Hopson did no advertising, yard signs or go door to door this time around.
“I’m proud of what we did in the last couple of years,” Hopson said reflecting on his time in office. “Harrenstein (referring to former City Administrator John Harrenstein), I and the Commissioners got some great things accomplished over the last couple of years.”
Other current commissioners praised Hopson on his time in office.
“I hate to see Scott go,” Commissioner Kenny Massey said. “He is very passionate about the city.”
Massey also remarked about his excitement to see Born join the ranks of the Commission.
“In my conversations with her prior to the election, she seems like she is just as passionate as Scott. I look forward to her being a part of the Commission.”
Commissioner Ruth Hughs echoed the sentiments of Massey.
“I have enjoyed serving with Mayor Hopson for the last three years,” Hughs stated. “He has been very dedicated during my time on the Commission to serving the citizens of Eudora.”
Hughs also was pleased the new Commissioner as well.
“I’m looking forward to serving again with Tim and look to welcome Jolene as our newest member of the Commission.”
Born will replace Bill Whitten on the Commission who decided not to run for reelection. Born and Reazin will be sworn in at the April 22 City Commission meeting. The very first task on the plate of the new Commission, will be to determine how they select which one of the five of them will be Mayor. With the form of government change that was approved by voters during the November 2012 General election, residents no longer vote for a mayor, they only vote for the Commissioners and then it is up to the Commission to select the Mayor from among the Commission members. It has yet to be determined how that selection process will take place.
Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
8:45 PM Update:
In one of the quicker election tallies, all Eudora precincts have reported in.
Jolene Born has won a seat on the Eudora City Commission and Eudora Commissioner Tim Reazin has won re-election. Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson finished a close 3rd and Jerry Trober a very distant 4th.
The final unofficial numbers were:
Born – 204
Reazin – 184
Hopson – 162
For the Eudora School Board, 5 of the 7 precincts are in. Eric Votaw leads with 320 votes. Joe Hurla in second with 258, Mike Kelso in thrid with 235 and Bryan Maring with 197.
We will continue to follow the School Board race and see if the the remaining two district make a difference in the outcome.
Candidate reactions will be soon to follow……
8:15 PM Update:
Results have come in from 2 of the 4 polling places in Eudora.
For City Commission, Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson is barely leading at 91 votes, followed by Jolene Born at 90. Commissioner Tim Reazin is in 3rd with 83 and Jerry Trober is a distant fourth with 38 votes. The top two vote getters will win seats on the City Commission.
For the Eudora School Board, Eric Votaw is in the lead with 125 votes, Mike Kelso in second with 104, Joe Hurla in third at 101 and Bryan Maring comes in with 83. The top three will win seats on the School Board.
The School Board has two polling stations in Leavenworth County and one in Johnson County and no results have yet been returned from there.
8:00 PM Update:
Results are starting to trickle in. So far, only advance balloting totals for Douglas County are out.
In The City Commissioner race:
Tim Reazin and Scott Hopson are tied at 18 votes, Jolene Born in third at 16 and Jerry Trober at 15.
For the School Board in Douglas County, Eric Votaw leads with 31, Mike Kelso 2nd with 29, Joe Hurla at 21 and Bryan Maring at 20. Johnson and Leavenworth counties are not reporting any totals as of yet. The District boundaries reach in the edges of both counties.
Obviously, these numbers will change significantly. There were approximately 300 voters at the Eudora polling stations this afternoon and none of the polling places have yet reported totals.
We will continue to follow the race as it unfolds….
Polls in Eudora closed a few minutes ago and we will be providing complete numbers as the votes are counted.
Voting turnout was low today, even for a local election. In 2011, 14% of registered voters turned out to cast ballots. As of 3:15 this afternoon, official numbers provided by the Douglas County clerk showed that 6.2% of voters had so far turned out. Voting in the 2013 election was around 40% of the 2011 turnout.
We will continue to update this story as the numbers roll in. Make sure to check back often to see who will be leading the Eudora School Board and City Commission.
More as the story develops…..