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Goodbye Council, Hello Commission.

Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved changing the form of government in Eudora from a Mayor-Council form of government to a Commission-Manager style.  The measure passed 1546 – 768.  This is slightly over a two thirds majority.

“I’m really thankful to the citizens of Eudora for supporting this change in government,” Councilwoman Ruth Hughs said. “We’re growing up.  This set’s us up for even more success in the future.”

With voters approving the change in style, the next step will be for the current City Council to pass a charter amendment that will move the number of Commissioners from the state regulation of three Commissioners to the Council preferred number of five.  This move will allow the current sitting Council members who are not up for election in 2013 to become part of the new Commission.  All five Commissioners will be at large and there will be no split into wards.  In May when the The  new Commission is seated, the first agenda item will be to determine how they will select a Mayor from among the five Commissioners.

“This is the right move at the right time,” Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson stated. “I’m very happy with the outcome.  I just wish more people would have come to the public hearings we had on this so that those who voted against the change could have understood why we were asking for this.”

City Administrator John Harrenstein, who will likely inherit the title of City Manager, also weighed in on the change.

“It represents a commitment to professional and ethical government by the citizens of Eudora,” Harrenstein said. “It’s now up to us to use that structure to move us into the future.”

One of the trivial items to note about the form of government change is that Scott Hopson will go down in history as the last elected Mayor for the city.

“I’m honored to be the last elected mayor,” Hopson said.  When we asked Hopson about his future plans now that, when his current term expires in May, he will be out of a job, he was very non-committal.

“Right now I’m not sure what to do. Eight years of elected service is a long time,” Hopson explained. “I’m torn between taking a break and keep moving on.  I’ll be sitting down with my wife and talking with her about it and at the moment, I just don’t know.”

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