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Fiore_takes_over_MayorMayor John Fiore (center) presides over the first minutes of his new office along side Vice-Mayor Tim Reazin and outgoing Mayor Ruth Hughs (photo by Eudorareporter.com Managing Editor John Schulz)

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

The Eudora City Commission selected John Fiore as the next Mayor of the City of Eudora. Tim Reazin was named the Vice-Mayor for the next year.

Fiore has served the last year as Vice-Mayor and has been on the City Commission since his election in 2011. Reazin is the longest sitting Commissioner having served the city since 2009.  Reazin won a second term in office in the 2013 city-wide elections.

Under the Commission-Manager form of government the city adopted in 2013, the sitting Commissioners choose who will fill the Mayor and Vice-Mayor positions.

While the vote for the Mayor and Vice-Mayor was unanimous by the Commission, it didn’t start off that way. Mayor Ruth Hughs asked for nominations for the position of Mayor. After a long pause waiting for nominations from the Commissioners, Hughs then nominated Fiore for the job. Councilman Kenny Massey very quickly spoke up with concerns about falling into a habit of promoting the Vice-Mayor to Mayor.

“As you all remember, when we had the consultant talk to us about changing the form of government, he gave us several examples of bad experiences,” Kenny Massey said. “I want us to be cautious of automatic ascension.”  Massey did not elaborate on any of those experiences that were discussed in 2012.

Fiore, who’s nomination was on the floor during this discussion, brought up the point that there are some responsibilities with being Mayor.

“It’s important to make sure that whoever is nominated is willing and able to take on the responsibilities of Mayor,” Fiore said.  “There are a lot of city events the Mayor is required to participate in.”

Hughs, who has served as Mayor for the last 12 months said that she was surprised how much time the Mayor’s position takes to do the job.  Massey then stated that is why he called “a time out”. He said that the Commission should consider Reazin for the Mayoral job.

“I think he’s the longest sitting Council member up here and because of his schedule and the way he rotates, his availability is a lot better,” Massey said. Reazin currently is employed as a firefighter in Lawrence and works a 24 hour shift approximately 10 days a month.

Hughs brought up the fact that Reazin has had to leave meetings prior to their conclusion due to his need to return to job at the fire station in Lawrence.

“I know Tim hires somebody to take his time, but he then has to leave and miss some of the more important parts of the meeting,” Hughs said. “Often the end of the meeting would be without a Mayor. I think that’s kind of critical.”

Reazin responded that it has only happened when there is a four hour meeting.

“We can’t be guaranteed that they all aren’t going to be,” Hughs replied.

After some continuing discussions on why both Fiore and Reazin felt they were ready for the job, Hughs stated her motion still stands for Fiore as Mayor. Jolene Born seconded the nomination and the Commission voted unanimously for Fiore. After Fiore took over the meeting as Mayor, he called for nominations of the Vice-Mayor and Kenny Massey and Ruth Hughs seconded the motion. The Commission made a very quick and unanimous vote in favor of Reazin for Vice-Mayor.

After the meeting, Fiore spoke about being named Mayor.

“It’s a great honor and distinction to be named Mayor, but really all five of us are equal members of the governing body and we all look to work towards the same goal of making Eudora great,” Fiore said.

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Scott HopsonEudora Mayor Scott Hopson during the Meet the Candidate Forum in March, 2013 (photo by eudorareporter.com photojournalist Mark Moore)

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

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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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson’s letter to Governor Brownback about safety concerns on K-10 has prompted the Governor to call for action.

In a letter from Governor Brownback to Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Deb Miller, the Governor cited Hopson’s letter and stated that KDOT begin immediate design of a project to widen the shoulders and add rumble strips along the Douglas County stretch of K-10. The Governor also stated that he wants the construction project completed by this fall.

Governor Brownback said that “While that may not have prevented this crash, it seems like a very important safety improvement.”

The Governor also called for the cable barrier study to be updated “without delay”.  This study was scheduled to be updated during 2012. “Even if a decision is made later to install cable median barriers, it will take longer to accomplish that improvement than it will for this shoulder enhancement. So let’s get that going immediately” Governor Brownback wrote.

The Governor also wants a local group be formed “so they can be included in the discussion of K-10 and provide helpful input in the decision making process.”

Mayor Scott Hopson’s reaction was mixed. “I appreciate the quick response the Governor had to the issue and I’m glad he’s reopening the study.  This is a nice addition to the highway.” Hopson added that “While it may help the situation,  it doesn’t address the problem. Barriers are the answer to the problem, not rumble strips.”

Hopson hopes to form a group of the mayors from the other cities along the K-10 corridor to study the issue.

 

 

 

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