The signs are cropping up in the yards. The political forums have begun. Social media has taken a turn for the weird.
Yep, must be political season in Lee’s Summit.
For better or worse, we are going to elect a new mayor April 3 and, possibly, a few new members to our City Council.
The new mayor — in a race by three well known men of different qualifications — will be just the third since 1994 in Lee’s Summit. Karen Messerli held the city’s reins for 16 years, followed by eight with current mayor Randy Rhoads.
The big chair is a somewhat literal term right now in Lee’s Summit, mainly because of the leadership role our new mayor immediately will have to fill.
Not only will the mayor receive voting privilieges after the April 3 election, per changes to our City Charter, but he will be tasked with mopping up some messes being left around the council chambers — mainly continued unsavory voting practices and behavior at the dais.
Who can bring that needed leadership to the mayor position? That’s what voters need to examine. And quickly. No more public forums are on the schedule, so it is up to every April voter to do some research on the candidates.
Where have they served? What are their platform topics and how do they stand on issues? Are they single-issue candidates or do they bring a multitude of experience, knowledge and expertise to the table?
Not to put too much pressure on our next mayor, but we must elect someone ready to jump in the pool, act as a lifeguard, bodyguard and guardian of good governance at our council meetings.
A quick glance at social media lately has shown us that ridiculous behavior continues to pervade our council meetings. This has got to stop. A new mayor must put in some code of conduct, rules of order and enforce the new ethics policy from the outset.
From our council members, we must not only demand leadership at every single turn, but we have to expect that those representing the 23,000 or so of us in each district be doing so from a place of respectability and responsibility.
There are clearly candidates (and incumbents for that matter) who are not remotely ready to take on those roles. There are candidates and incumbents who are.
Voters are charged — empowered, if they will accept it — to get to know their individual council members and make wise decisions April 3 for our future.
Your individual council member can lead or refrain from leading. They can positively contribute to meetings or they can cause chaos.
It is absolutely our responsibility to know the difference between the two. Elected officials and candidates that create and encourage chaos have no place on our city council or sitting in the mayoral chair.
Lee’s Summit resident John Beaudoin writes about city and civic issues, people and personalities around town. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.