Wyandotte & Leavenworth

Holland sworn into office as new mayor/CEO of Wyandotte County

Mark Holland began his term as mayor of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County with a frank admission.

“I know I have big shoes to fill,” Holland said Thursday evening, moments after taking the oath of office.

With predecessors Joe Reardon and Carol Marinovich looking on, Holland said the commission would launch a review of the county’s strategic plan.

Also on the docket: beginning deliberations on the potentially contentious task of picking a replacement for Holland’s at-large commission seat, which he vacated to become mayor.

Among those said to be interested are former Commissioner Nathan Barnes and former state Sen. Kelly Kultala.

In brief remarks, the new mayor noted that Wyandotte County faces big challenges

“But,” he said, “we’re better positioned to address all these challenges than we’ve ever been.”

Also taking oaths of office were five of the 10 Unified Government commissioners: Hal Walker, Gayle Townsend, Mike Kane, Jim Walters and Jane Winkler Philbrook. Sheriff Don Ash was sworn in, too.

Along with holdovers Ann Murguia and Angela Markley, the commission will have four women for the first time in its history, government officials said.

In her remarks, Philbrook talked of how fortunate the current commission is to be following mayors and commissioners who managed to reverse the county’s fortunes.

“Now we have no excuses not to take this and go with it,” she told the standing-room-only crowd in the commission chambers.

Murguia, who lost to Holland in the April 2 election, was the only commissioner absent on Thursday. A message on her cellphone said she was traveling and would return today.