City Hall

City Hall

New leaders call for cooperation

Hack, Dever elected mayor, vice mayor; two outgoing commissioners say their farewells

April 11, 2007


City commission highlights

Watch highlights from tonight's city commission meeting. Enlarge video

New city commissioners take oath

Mayor changes tonight at city hall as two commissioners say goodbye and two others take their seats. Enlarge video

Play nice, respect everybody and trust one another.

Those grade-school lessons were front and center Tuesday night as Lawrence city commissioners said farewell to two outgoing commissioners, welcomed two new members and elected Commissioner Sue Hack to serve as mayor.

"The one (goal) that is most important to me is the healing of this community," Hack said during her mayoral address. "We must find some way to work through our differences in a manner that stops the cycle of distrust."

Hack said she was particularly concerned that consultants with the PlaceMakers group, during its recent visit to Lawrence, concluded that the city exhibits more mistrust among its residents and stakeholders than any other community it has ever worked in.

"Shame on us," Hack said.

This is Hack's second term as mayor. She also had the position from 2002-2003.

Outgoing Commissioner Mike Rundle - who served two stints on the commission from 1987 to 1991 and from 2001 to Tuesday - said more civility in the community would help.

"One thing I would say is that there is sometimes more rock throwing in the community than we need," Rundle said. "We would get more done if we did less of that."

Rundle said he particularly hoped that members of the community would stop labeling people who question some developments as "no-growthers."

Commissioner David Schauner - who served back-to-back two-year terms beginning in 2003 - said he was most proud of how the commission had given neighborhood residents an equal voice in the decisions that are made at City Hall.

"That commitment to the 'everyman' or 'everywoman' is the mark of a truly civilized and caring community," said Schauner, who challenged all future commissions to uphold that standard.

Mike Dever and Rob Chestnut - the top two vote-winners in the April 3 election - also took their seats on the commission. Dever was elected to serve as vice mayor. If the commission follows past tradition, that means Dever will become the mayor in April 2008. Dever said he was looking forward to his first year on the commission.

"I'm excited and cannot wait to learn all the things I need to learn," Dever said.

Chestnut also said he was excited, and admitted that it was a special honor serving as a commissioner in the town that he grew up in.

"It is a bit of a surreal experience," Chestnut said. "I was driving down Sixth Street, and thinking about growing up here. It is a surreal experience to think about coming full circle."

Commissioner Boog Highberger - the third-place finisher in the April 3 elections - also was sworn in to a second term. Highberger, who joined the commission in 2003, will serve a two-year term.

Highberger thanked all his fellow commissioners, and said that he would continue to do everything he could to ensure "that neighborhoods have a strong voice in this community."

Hack, a retired school teacher who has been on the commission since 2001, replaces Amyx as mayor. Amyx, who will continue to serve on the commission, thanked all the commissioners for the work they do.

"No one can question the dedication each member of this body has to this community," said Amyx, a downtown barber shop owner. "They can question the decisions each of us make, but I will never question the dedication."

Praise also was heaped on Amyx for his tenure as mayor.

"I have learned that Mike has grown up next to, went to school with, or cuts the hair of every man, woman or child in this community," Hack said. "He knows everybody. He knows the pulse of this community."


cowboy 11 years ago

smitty , care to explain what the big city manager fiasco actually was. I'm still not very clear what the actual issue was .

prioress 11 years ago

Good luck folks, and thanks for your service. Politics is ugly and getting worse. Who wants to put up with it? One wonders......

lunacydetector 11 years ago

"Rundle said he particularly hoped that members of the community would stop labeling people who question MOST developments as "no-growthers.""

spoken like a true "no growther"...

eureka! i should've been a "consultant" lobbyist in lawrence these past few years....i coulda been rich....'sometime deez wheels in my head day go cleek, cleek, cleek' -from the movie Nacho Libre (not really)....i watch every Easters.

jmadison 11 years ago

Good riddance to Schauner and Rundle. They have helped put Lawrence in an economic hole from which it will be hard to dig out.

tribalzendancer 11 years ago

In the spirit of comradery and civility, I'd like to say "Cheers!" to the commission succeeding in its aim to cooperate and work towards the betterment of our city.

And a double cheers for that spirit to rub off on these LJ world comment boards. Our citizens are just as responsible for the culture of mutual respect and cooperation as the commissioners are.

The first two comments above spoil my cheers somewhat, but a cheers raised high is a cheers not easily spoiled.

So let me say it again, "Cheers!"

blackwalnut 11 years ago

Hello new commission. Hello $30 million library. Hello higher taxes!

I find the consultants' comments, quoted by Rundle, interesting. So Lawrence has more mistrust among its residents when it comes to city issues, eh?

Mistrust might not be a bad thing. It shows people are involved and paying attention. Having lived in several cities, I believe that Lawrencians exhibit less apathy than citizens of most cities. Less apathy and better informed citizens leads to opposition to what some communities have rolled over and accepted: Walmart and other big corporate development steamrolling communities and diverting revenue to the big corporate office in some other city instead of into the pockets of people who would spend that money here. Less apathy and greater involvement of course leads to some dissent - but is apathy preferable? The developers who want to pillage the town would prefer everyone just put their heads back in the sand and let them have their way with the town we love.

On another topic: suggestions that any economic woes come from the last commission are just so much air. Though BushCo would have you believe otherwise, the national economy stinks. The economy in every other part of Kansas stinks.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years ago

blackwalnut wrote: "Mistrust might not be a bad thing. It shows people are involved and paying attention." I disagree, though. I think citizens who are mistrustful lack faith in others' intents and sincerity. In contrast, I believe skepticism about the best approaches to take to achieve (quality of life; liveable community; value for investment; what-have-you) IS healthy and shows that citizens attend to the issues and become involved.

Rationalanimal 11 years ago

"The one (goal) that is most important to me is the healing of this community," Hack said during her mayoral address. "We must find some way to work through our differences in a manner that stops the cycle of distrust."

Lets blow 30 or 40 million on a new library. There's nothing like shopping to soothe the soul. Healing, feelings and apparitional problems, textbook kookie rhetoric.

rhd99 11 years ago

Hack, READ this: New taxes HURT communities. Oh, I get it, YOU don't like affordable housing to be available to all people, RIGHT? Well, new taxes will NOT encourage more affordable housing. Shoving new taxes down our throats will get you NO WHERE FAST! Now, others of you here, Rundle complains that the dialog has not been civil in this community. Well, why is that? It's because of policies Rundle adopted as a part of that ridiculous PLC that was anti-affordable housing & pro-bureaucratic ridden governmental red-tape that will NEVER attract new business or higher paying jobs to Lawrence. Rundle get a clue!

KsTwister 11 years ago

I agree with Hawk. Lawrence need to stop, take a deep breath and address priority needs first. Right now balance that budget with a completion date on the streets, curb,sidewalk, sewers,levy maintenance,drainage issues for North Lawrence,affordable Housing and see what money is left. Then take the 'Steps TO Balance' with our wants not needs. You will find a more receptive community.

coneflower 11 years ago

Hack proposed a 1 cent sales tax hike yesterday, citing a wish to avoid increasing property taxes.

It's too convenient that the west side of town pays higher property taxes, and the west end voted in the 2 brand-new commissioners more or less by themselves.

Sparing the west enders taxes Sue? At the cost of a regressive tax?

Seems like a bad idea to me.


Let's enlarge the existing one or find some other solution. The most expensive solution is the wrong one for a cash-strapped community.

FreetoBe47 11 years ago


I'm sure Boog will vote against Deaver and Chesnut, but the ridiculous nonsense about Hack is almost laughable. I think you need some type of therapy for your hatred of west siders. Breathe deep and take some yoga classes or something to relieve the stress!

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