Archive for Thursday, February 1, 2007

Filings surprise mayor, council

February 1, 2007

Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle said he could look at the lack of filings for city council one of two ways. When the Jan. 23 filing deadline passed, only three candidates filed for the three open seats on the council.

He could view the sparse turnout as a negative reaction to the status quo or a positive affirmation of it, he said.

Pyle decided to look at the bright side.

"One way tells me the public is fairly well satisfied with the way things are going," Pyle said.

Unless a fourth candidate mounts a successful write-in campaign, Jeff Peterson, Fred Stewart and Maria Nelson will take over seats vacated by Scott Hopson and Dan Gregg. Peterson would keep his current seat on the council, which he was appointed to after Kevin Miller resigned from his seat near the end of 2006.

"I felt like if the public was dissatisfied, there would have been a whole slew of them running," Pyle said.

Pyle said he feels positive about the possibility of serving with the trio.

Two of the candidates, Peterson and Nelson, were on his final list of applicants to replace Miller.

"I thought they both would be good city council members," Pyle said.

Pyle said he would be equally as willing to work with the third candidate, former mayor Stewart.

Stewart filed the morning of the deadline when he found out only two others were running for the three available seats.

Pyle was on the council when Stewart served his term as mayor.

"Fred's got a lot of good ideas," Pyle said. "He's a hard worker, and he listens to people."

As a unit, Pyle said he could foresee a council with the three newcomers running smoothly.

"I think we can work well together," he said.

Councilwoman Lori Fritzel said she had expected greater community interest in the race.

"I had hoped we'd have a better turn out," Fritzel said.

The new faces will lead to a new look for the council, she said.

"I think with new faces and new ideas in there, the perceived council as it exists wouldn't exist anymore."

Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said she believes a good slate of candidates filed.

"The only thing that surprises me at all is the fact we didn't have more candidates file," Beatty said.

It seemed particularly strange because of the amount of applicants the city received when Miller resigned, Beatty said.

Eudora City Councilman Bill Whitten also thought more would file.

"I'm disappointed," Whitten said. "I was hoping people would want to get involved and make a difference in the community."

Whitten said he was in favor of those who did file for the council.

"I applaud those who did get up and do want to make a difference in the community," Whitten said.

Judging from commentary about the current council on Internet public forums like the one on The Eudora News Web site, Whitten thought more people would step up, he said.

"You think people would want to come and make a difference rather than just complain online," Whitten said. "Apparently not."

He didn't see the lack of interest as a negative reflection on the current council, he said.

"To me it would increase the individual count," Whitten said. "If they thought there was a problem, they would want to be part of the solution."

Whoever takes the three open council seats in April, Pyle said he still has high hopes for the council.

"It's kind of like one of your kids," Pyle said. "You want to see them do well."

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