On Jan. 8 Gardner swore in new city council members Randy Gregorcyk and Mark Baldwin, and Mayor Steve Shute. Before the swearing in I was allowed some brief remarks. Here is a recap for the readers of The Gardner News.
I thanked everyone in attendance, but especially my family members. They’ve always been incredibly supportive. Being an elected official and by proxy a public figure though, opens a person up to a fair amount of criticism. My family suffered these criticisms with me, stoically, even when they had strong opinions of their own.
I mentioned a few of my favorite things beyond the usual duties associated with the office. These things include but are in no way limited to: Participating in Chat-fest on the Trails with our Distinguished Citizens during the Festival on the Trails.
Visiting with any and all USD 231 students, whether at their schools or during their visits to city hall.
Interacting on multiple occasions with Gardner Gold Special Olympics team members.
Helping Cooper McGuire with the 1st Performing with a Purpose charitable program in 2014. That first year the proceeds were donated to the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, and it remains an ongoing scholarship program.
The five Christmas in the Park lighting ceremonies at Cornerstone Park.
Welcoming people to Gardner during the Johnson County Fair and at the fair parade.
Participating in graduation ceremonies for Gardner You and the Citizens Police Academy.
Recognizing and interacting with our local veterans and armed forces members.
Visiting our city’s first Martin Luther King Day Exhibit at city hall.
I thanked all our Board – Commission – Committee members.
I thanked city staff both long serving and new staff members for keeping our city moving forward.
I also thanked the Gardner community with special thanks to the Gardner News.
The peanut gallery past and present, haunting the governing body in council chambers at city hall. This group includes but is not limited to: Jerry, Tory, Jack, Jared, Randy, Michael, and Duck, and everyone else who has bothered to show up for a public meeting.
Constituents who have contacted me in person, by phone, by email, or USPS. It is great to hear from people directly, and I believe my feelings are echoed by our other elected officials. To my friends on social media, contact your elected officials directly, you likely won’t be sorry.
I thanked anyone who has ever volunteered on behalf of the city at any time. Especially those who have come out for our Earth/Arbor Day greenway clean up, or Make a Difference Day in October.
I thanked our distinguished citizens, those who have spent their lives in Gardner. Residents who remember Gardner before Wal Mart, or McDonalds, or Price Chopper.
I thanked Governing Body members past and present, and wished the newest members the best of luck going forward. Gardner has momentum on our side, I hope they’ll keep it going.
Finally I shared special thanks to the people who’ve guided me in my city life:
Finance Director Laura Gourley.
Interim City Administrator Mike Press
The Executive Assistants and City Clerks who’ve kept me straight. Katie Asbury, Leslie Quillen, Anne Forrester, Annie Clements, Doreen Wisdom, Kim LeRoy, Jeanne Koontz, and Amy Waller.
City Administrator Cheryl Harrison-Lee. In the five and a half years she has played the most key role in guiding Gardner toward growth, and elevated the city organization to one of high performance.
Finally, outgoing council member Kristina Harrison. Kristy has served as a model of how a public servant should perform, and behave their duties on behalf of all our constituents. She will be greatly missed.
Thank you to my family, thanks to everyone who came out last night, and thank you Gardner. It has been my privilege and pleasure.