Archive for Monday, April 12, 2010

Chestnut’s term as mayor coming to close, experienced hand expected to succeed him

Mike Amyx expected to serve fourth term as mayor

Mayor Rob Chestnut will step down Tuesday and make way for Mike Amyx to step in.

Mayor Rob Chestnut will step down Tuesday and make way for Mike Amyx to step in.

April 12, 2010


New Mayor in Tuesday at City Hall

Lawrence mayor Rob Chestnut will end his one-year stint as city leader and hand over the reigns to Mike Amyx. Chestnut will remain a member of the five-person city commission. Enlarge video

Mayor Rob Chestnut is pleased with his one-year term as mayor, which will end Tuesday night.

Address on 6News

Coverage of tonight’s state of the city address will be aired live during an expanded 6 p.m. newscast on Sunflower Broadband’s Channel 6 and on our Web site, Lawrence Mayor Rob Chestnut is scheduled to deliver the address promptly at 6:35 p.m. from City Hall.

But he thinks he’ll be even more pleased with it in about two years.

“Quite honestly, I think we’re primed for growth,” Chestnut said. “I think we have put ourselves in a position to grow.”

Chestnut will end his term at Tuesday’s meeting after delivering the city’s annual State of the City Address, and — if tradition holds — vice mayor Mike Amyx will be elected by fellow commissioners to a one-year term as mayor.

“It really does still excite me,” said Amyx, who will be serving his fourth stint as mayor, if chosen. “There is something about the job that really does energize you.”

During his state of the city address, Chestnut is expected to highlight the fact the city balanced its budget for the third straight year, after running large deficits in 2006.

Several economic development issues from the past year also are expected to take center stage. They include:

• The purchase of the former Oread Labs building in West Lawrence to serve as a laboratory complex to attract promising biotech companies to the area.

• A preliminary agreement to take over ownership of the former Farmland Industries property to convert into a business park.

• The extension of new water and sewer service to Lawrence Municipal Airport to make the area more attractive to potential aviation-related businesses.

As of yet, the efforts have not produced large job gains for the local economy, and have resulted in multi-million dollar commitments from the city. But Chestnut said the tough national economy made job gains hard to come by during the past year.

“We didn’t have the show-stoppers that we would have liked,” Chestnut said, referring to new job announcements. “But I feel really good about the progress we have made. I can recognize the architecture for future success.”

Amyx, a downtown barber shop owner, said he wants to continue placing an emphasis on improving the community’s infrastructure needed to attract jobs.

“As important as it is to land the new business, you have to have a place for them to go in the first place,” Amyx said. “It is not glamorous to put that infrastructure in, but you have to have it to make a pitch to a big new company.”

Improvement of the city’s street conditions also is expected to be a point of emphasis during the next year. Both Amyx and Chestnut said they believe the city’s street maintenance strategy is a good one, but has been hampered by poor winter weather.

“I know people look at them right now and feel like we’re not in very good shape,” Chestnut said of the streets. “But we have to get past this short-term, really bad situation created by the weather. We’re on the right path, but it is going to take a sustained commitment over five to 10 years to get where we want to be.”

Although ending his term as mayor, Chestnut will remain on the commission. Commissioners each April choose one member from their ranks to serve as mayor — who runs city commission meetings, sets meeting agendas, and serves as the ceremonial head of the city.

Amyx is in line to become the next mayor, by tradition, because he was the top vote-winner in the last City Commission election. Commissioner Aron Cromwell is in line to become vice-mayor because he had the second highest vote total in the last election. Traditional holds that Cromwell then would be selected to serve a one-year term as mayor in April 2011.

Amyx previously has served a one-year term as mayor in 1985-86, 1987-88, and in 2006-2007.


sad_lawrencian 8 years ago

There isn't a city-wide election for mayor? How strange...

gccs14r 8 years ago

That's for grown-up cities. Politically, this is still hicksville.

BTW, weather and traffic shouldn't tear up the streets if they're built properly in the first place. The frost line is 3' down, but we make our streets 6" thick, then let water stand at the curbs and intersections. It should surprise no one that we end up driving on a moonscape every spring. And quit using asphalt for a primary paving material. You might as well be paving with Play-Doh.

puddleglum 8 years ago

gccs14r.... if you built the roads right in the first place, then you would eliminate the need for the SAME asphalt and repaving companies to come back and get another check every year. Then the city would save money, but local fat cats would be unhappy and cry in their milk.

BruceWayne 8 years ago

Killing me to agree with SEA, but I blame Amyx for many things wrong with this once fine city. His leadership skills are as outdated as his hairpiece.

cato_the_elder 8 years ago

Beobachter, I'm pleased to see that you've changed your avatar.

CLARKKENT 8 years ago


gccs14r 8 years ago

Hardly. They're the ones who changed the concrete spec to granite aggregate instead of limestone, so the concrete poured after the spec change should last awhile, unless the current bunch changed it back. Oh, and the word is sleight, not slight, and the plural of amigo is amigos.

Clickker 8 years ago

I would have to say that Chestnut was probably one of the best "economic thinkers" we have had at Mayor in the past 23 years. If you have ever talked to him, he is astute at a number of subjects and really doesnt let ideology get in the way of his decisions.

lawrencenerd 8 years ago

God, Lawrence is in the dark ages. I wish there was some system in place to keep the city commission from padding their pockets and the pockets of their buddies while neglecting things that really need to happen in this city. I'm still amazed at what crooked greedy people manage to get elected in the first place. Probably because anybody that could actually do the job well wouldn't want to be associated with the history of crooked politics in the first place.

labmonkey 8 years ago

The dude on the right looks like Stephen King.

Kontum1972 8 years ago

gee it must be a great job....he keeps coming back for more...or mb its the chicks....does he have a g/f in south wait that's.... mark so cornfused...

supreme leader is a better title....instead of mayor

or is it the health insurance benies?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years ago

lawrencenerd, it has been in the dark ages politically for many years. The city commission is responsible for a whole host of requirements, and this current, and many previous, choose to ignore input from citizens about problems in city departments they are notified of. They ignore most all citizen input and just sweep serious problems under their already very dirty carpet. These bozos are a collection of clueless wonks that had enough money and friends to buy them the most election yard signs. Hardly anyone in town knows much about the city government or how it should work (or gives a rat's ass) , and these clowns have pretty much a free ride in the (lack of ) control over their various departments. And the city manager directs them in their cluelessness, and there, dear friends, lies the real problem.

Terry Jacobsen 8 years ago

Rob Chestnut was a good mayor. He had solid economics behind his thinking and he was a reasonable and considerate leader. I applaud him. Mike Amyx has given a number of years of service to this community and he too gets my appreciation! The credit belongs to the man who is willing to strap on the armor, take up the challenge and enter the battle. Both of these men get my respect and thanks.

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