Stewart completes term, Connor sworn in as new mayor
The Eudora City Council made the hiring of two workers to help operate the city's wastewater treatment plant official Monday night.
In an attempt to resolve what was an apparent violation of city's hiring practices, the council unanimously approved the hiring of Mark Dunavin and Jerry Trober to work at the plant. The two have been working at the plant since April 2. They were hired by City Superintendent Bill Harlow after the council's March 12 meeting. At the meeting, the council discussed the employees' wages in executive session but did not take an official vote to approve their hiring.
Council member Rex Burkhardt said he hoped the official action would rectify what he called a clear violation of the city's hiring procedure.
"I'm not opposed to hiring these employees, but our policy states a council majority by a public vote," he said. "I don't think we followed that. I'd like to see us follow the policies and procedures."
Tom Pyle, council member, disagreed. Pyle said there was an urgent need to hire the workers and the decision should have rested with the department head, Harlow.
Burkhardt stood firm in his response, saying the council needed to follow clearly-defined procedures.
"I think that's where we were wrong," Burkhardt said. "What I'm saying is we need to do a better job at communication. I'm directing that not only at the council, but also department heads."
After old business was conducted, the council held a ceremony to swear in newly-elected Mayor Ron Conner and council members Doug Woods and Burkhardt. This is the first term for Conner as mayor and the first for Woods as councilman. Conner served on the city council four years ago. This is Burkhardt's second consecutive term as council member.
Outgoing Mayor Fred Stewart wished Conner well and shook his hand as he turned things over to the new mayor. Council member Dan Gregg had a few words to say about Stewart.
"He is an extremely intelligent man," Gregg said. "He remembers everything. In the past four years he has served Eudora, he has always done what's best for the city."
Eudora City Clerk Donna Oleson also commented on Stewart's hard work and dedication.
"I will have to say Fred worked harder on the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund than anyone I've ever seen," she said.
As a first order of business, the council voted to reinstate Burkhardt as council president.