Ruth Hughs

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Eudora Mayor Tim Reazin, Commissioner Ruth Hughs and Ben Terwilliger 

 

At the Eudora City Commission meeting on Monday night (September 14), Eudora Mayor Tim Reazin honored his colleague Ruth Hughs, for her accomplishment serving as the first female Mayor in Eudora, Kansas’ history. Mayor Reazin presented ex-Mayor and current City Commissioner Hughs with a picturesque shadowbox commemorating Hugh’s tenure as Mayor. The shadowbox contains a lovely gold inscription, a photo of Hughs and the gavel used by Hughs during her tenure as Mayor from 2013-2014.

The shadowbox was next presented by Mayor Reazin to Ben Terwilliger, the Executive Director of the Eudora Community Museum. The shadowbox has been added to the museum’s historical collections and is already on display in a prominent location in the Eudora Community Museum as a means to honor Hughs’ achievement. Based on the historical records owned by the Eudora Community Museum, it is estimated that Hughs was Eudora’s 48th Mayor. That means all 47 Mayors before Hughs were men. Hughs’ tenure as Mayor reflects a changing society where more and more opportunities are becoming available for all people. Hughs is a groundbreaker, a pioneer because she was the first female Mayor, and it’s safe to assume, she won’t be the last either.

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Close-up of the shadowbox 

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Ruth Hughs Former Mayor and current City Commissioner Ruth Hughs

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

With the upcoming elections for City Commission and School Board, we wanted to take time to highlight each candidate in the race.

All candidates were sent a questionnaire to fill out and respond to. We will print the responses to those questions here over the course of the next few days.  We told the candidates that the responses will be presented as sent to us with no editing.

First to be highlighted is former Mayor and current City Commissioner Ruth Hughs:

Please tell about your background and qualifications for a position on the City Commission.

I have served on the City Commission for 5 years. I was appointed in 2010 for a one year term when a former commissioner was unable to complete his term. This turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for me to “get my feet wet”. I discovered that I enjoyed the challenge of serving on the commission and decided to run for a 4 year term and much to my delight I was elected to the commission in April 2011. Last year I had the honor to serve in the capacity of the mayor.

Voters in this election will be asked if they want to raise the City sales tax by ¾ of a percent to help fund the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and other capital expenditures. If this passes, what specific needs would you recommend that money going towards?

We are a city that appreciates quality family time and community events. Over the past few years we have seen the use of our swimming pool, Rec Center, trails, parks, and ball fields grow. I believe the ¾ of a percent city tax increase money will give us the opportunity to upgrade CPA Park and other smaller parks, build new trails, enhance our swimming pool, and make new ballfields. Another way I would like to see the money used is to enlarge the Recreation Center as it is bursting at the seams. Money spent enhancing our parks and recreation programs is a win for the citizens as it helps create more opportunities for living a healthy lifestyle.

Where do you feel the city is in regards to economic development and what would you do in regards to economic development in the future?

What I have learned over the past 5 years about economic development is that it takes money, time, great planning, hard work, and dedication to grow our economy in Eudora. I believe we are now much better prepared to make significant strides in economic development. We recently completed a Buxton study that gives us important information that will help us market Eudora to new businesses.

The most visible piece of land available for development is the property where the old Nottingham School and Laws Field currently sit. As a City Commissioner, what specifically would like to see done with this property?

The Nottingham site is the most desirable piece of real estate in Eudora. I believe that it should be developed according to the guidelines as established by the school board and the commission in 2010. I also believe that a total site plan is essential for adequate planning.

What other issues do you think are important that the City Commission should look at?

There are several issues I believe the commission will want to address in the near future. Our city will need to add another law enforcement officer as we continue to grow. It is also my belief that Eudora should have an ambulance stationed at the Public Works building 24/7. I hope to see that happen in the near future.

Why do you want to sit on the City Commission?

My track record shows that I am invested in helping Eudora grow and thrive. I would consider it a privilege to serve my city again in this capacity.

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The City elections will be held on Tuesday, April 7. Polls will be open from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Voters can vote early by mail or by going to the Douglas County Courthouse.  For more information on advance voting you can visit the Douglas County Elections website: https://www.douglascountyks.org/depts/voting-and-elections/advance-voting

Three of the five candidates running for the City Commission will be selected. On the School Board, 6 candidates are vying for four seats.

We will have more in depth information about polling places as we near Election Day. The remaining candidates will be profiled over the next few days.

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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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Eudora South Trail 003Assistant to the City manger Barack Matite and Parks & Rec Director Gary Scott hold the ribbon in place for the ceremony dedicating the new walking trail along Church Street.  Cutting the ribbon are (l-r:  Sunflower Foundation Program Officer Elizabeth Sewart, School Board members Joe Hurla, Belinda Rehmer, Joe Pyle, and City Commission members Jolene Born and Tim Reazin.  Photo by Eudorareporter.com reporter Diane Chrislip)

Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com

A group of people braved the brisk temperatures and occasional raindrops to attend the ribbon cutting for the Eudora South Trail, a paved walkway that winds gracefully along Church Street in front of the middle school and high school.

The trail was made possible due to a generous grant from Sunflower Foundation along with the collaborative efforts of the City of Eudora and the Eudora School District.

“This is a great start to our master park and trail plan,” said City Commission member Tim Reazin. “I hope this leads to a walkway across K-10 to connect the city north and south and provide a safe pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists.”

Eudora Mayor Ruth Hughs said the idea for a trail began in January 2012 when a  committee began meeting to develop a recreation master plan. The input from the public indicated a great interest in additional trails and parks in Eudora. The Eudora South Trail is the result of efforts on the part of a multitude of citizens and city leaders. One of the goals in the master plan is to eventually have trails and sidewalks connecting all parts of Eudora.

Both Eudora District Superintendent Don Grosdidier and Eudora Recreation Director Gary Scott are struck by the number of people who already walk, jog or bicycle on the trail every day.

“Before the trail was even finished people were walking on it,” City Manager Mike Press said.

Eudora South Trail 004Leaders from the City, School District and Sunflower Foundation helped plant one of the trees that are being planted near the trail. (Photo by Reporter Diane Chrislip)

“It’s going to be very pretty,” Hughs said of the trail and the recently planted trees along it. “It will add to the aesthetics of our town.”

School board member Joe Pyle was especially impressed by the teamwork between the school district and the city.

“This trail will enhance the quality of life for all the citizens of Eudora,” Pyle said.

City Commissioner Jolene Born expressed much appreciation to Sunflower Foundation for the grant and for their support of healthy living.  “Without them, we wouldn’t be here today.”

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Mayor Ruth HughsEudora Mayor Ruth Hughs moments after she was voted in as Mayor by the City Commission (photo by Managing Editor John Schulz)

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

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.

Reazin-BornCommissioners Tim Reazin and Jolene Born take the oath of office during the Eudora City Commission meeting Monday night (photo by Managing Editor John Schulz)

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.)

Vice Mayor John FioreVice Mayor John Fiore looks on as the Commission nominates him for the position (photo by Managing Editor John Schulz)

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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