Archive for Thursday, March 31, 2005

Write-in candidate confirms bid for mayor

March 31, 2005

He won't be knocking on doors, passing out campaign leaflets or advertising, but Eudora resident Grady Walker is willing to take the city's top elected job if he gets enough write-in votes for mayor.

Walker acknowledged Tuesday that he is running as a write-in candidate in the April 5 election.

"There have been quite a few people that have asked me if I would be interested, and I said 'Yes,'" Walker said.

Walker has lived in Eudora for two-and-a-half years. He works full time as an assistant director for Douglas County Youth Services, and part-time as an officer with the Eudora Police Department. He is also a volunteer firefighter with the Eudora Fire Department.

Walker said one reason he did not actively campaign for the mayoral position was because he did not want to jeopardize his part-time employment with the city of Eudora. He said the policy on part-time employees was not clear, and he was not ready to give up his position with the police department.

Tom Pyle, a member of the Eudora City Council, is the only registered candidate for mayor in the upcoming election.

There has been much discussion regarding the importance of a city administrator among candidates during the campaign. The Council has voted to hire a new administrator to replace Mike Yanez, who took a similar job with the city of Tonganoxie. But some of the details of a new administrator's job description have yet to be worked out.

In contrast with what Pyle has said in previous interviews, Walker said he believed the city administrator should be given more authority than Yanez had.

"He should have a little more authority than what has been given previously," Walker said.

For instance, Walker said he believed a city administrator should have the authority to hire and fire personnel and the City Council should be responsible for appeals and policies.

"They (city administrators) are a little more specialized in the human resources," he said.

Walker's comments mirror Pyle's on the issue of creating benefit districts in new developments. Both agreed benefit districts were necessary and that the extra cost to future homeowners should be clearly pointed out in sales contracts.

"I think it's really important because I think the citizens shouldn't have to pay for new developments," Walker said. "I think that those people who want to move into the area should have to pay for those developments."

From his experience as a volunteer firefighter, Walker said he had seen a need for improvements to older infrastructure. He said there were not enough good fire extinguishers and he would like to see that change.

Walker said he would also like more cooperative effort between the city and the Eudora school district. He said the two agencies could work more together and share resources more.

One venture he suggested the city and school district could work on together would be the creation of more modern informational services, such as online services. He said he would like for the city to offer online bill paying for utilities.

Walker said the city would have to provide more progressive services if the city hoped to attract commercial growth.

"Progress costs money," he said. "As long as we want to be progressive we need to understand it's going to cost a little money. But if we want to bring in more services, we have to provide more services."

Election polling sites will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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