Lawrence City Commission to elect new mayor; newly elected commissioners to take their seats

photo by: Mike Yoder

Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., is pictured Thursday, July 7, 2016

The City of Lawrence will soon have a new mayor and two new members on its governing body.

As part of its meeting Tuesday, if tradition holds, the Lawrence City Commission will vote to elect Vice Mayor Jennifer Ananda as mayor and incoming Commissioner Brad Finkeldei as vice mayor.

Lawrence voters do not directly elect the city’s mayor and vice mayor, who both serve one-year terms. However, by tradition, the commission elects the two commissioners who received the highest number of votes in the most recent elections. The mayor conducts the commission’s meetings, appoints members of the public to city advisory boards with commissioner approval and fulfills other ceremonial duties, such as illuminating the downtown holiday lights.

Ananda will replace outgoing Mayor Lisa Larsen. Larsen and Ananda were the top vote winners in the November 2017 election, and newcomer Finkeldei was the top vote winner in the election earlier this month. Finkeldei will be sworn in along with fellow newcomer Courtney Shipley and incumbent Commissioner Stuart Boley.

As the top two vote winners in the election, Finkeldei and Shipley will serve four-year terms. As the third-place finisher, Boley will serve a two-year term. Finkeldei and Shipley will replace outgoing commissioners Matthew Herbert and Leslie Soden, neither of whom sought reelection.

Following the swearing-in and election of the new mayor and vice mayor, Larsen, as outgoing mayor, will address the commission and the public. The address typically goes over the commission’s accomplishments over the past year. During Larsen’s term as mayor, the city appointed a new city manager, approved a new comprehensive plan and approved the first projects funded by the city’s new affordable housing sales tax.

Larsen’s time on the commission began in 2015, when the commission elected her from a field of 14 candidates to fill the seat vacated by former Mayor Jeremy Farmer. Larsen will continue to serve the remainder of her four-year term that began in January 2018.

Ananda, as incoming mayor, will also get time to make comments. The new mayor typically takes that time to speak about the city’s outlook for the upcoming year. Once the mayor and vice mayor are elected and the new commissioners seated, the commission will recess for approximately 20 minutes, according to the meeting agenda. The commission will then return to consider its regular agenda.

The City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.

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