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."