Shawnee City Council elects newcomer as council president
At its recent city council meeting, the governing body voted to elect Ward 1 councilman Matt Zimmerman as the council president.
Councilman Justin Adrian made the motion; Council members Eric Jenkins and Stephanie Meyer voted in dissent.
In the absence or disability of the mayor, the council president takes over those leadership duties.
The move was unusual for the council, since Zimmerman had only been sworn in as a council member less than an hour beforehand.
But the newcomer is up for the challenge.
“I was certainly surprised with the nomination for Council President, as it was something I had not considered a possibility going into Monday evening’s meeting,” Zimmerman told the Dispatch. “I realize I’m going to be on a pretty steep learning curve over the next several months and have had multiple conversations with several of the past presidents regarding the responsibilities and challenges of the position, and for that, I am grateful for their willingness to help out.
“The city of Shawnee has a great council, great leadership, an incredible staff, and I’m genuinely honored by this opportunity to work with all of them.”
At its Jan. 8 meeting, the council also voted on the following items:
The governing body voted to elect Stephanie Meyer as the Council Committee Vice-Chair. Councilman Justin Adrian made the motion; the vote was unanimous.
The council approved the appointment of Peter Jarchow as the Ward 4 representative for the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. His term will expire on Dec. 31, 2019. The council also approved the appointment of Councilman Mickey Sandifer to the Bi-State Committee as the Shawnee representative.
The council approved a contract with Wiedenmann, Inc., for the 2018 Stormwater Pipe Repair Project in the amount of $957,295.64. The project will fix numerous high priority or emergency pipe repairs throughout the city.
The council approved a memorandum of understanding with the Johnson County Mental Health Center for the Co-Responder Program. The action will allow the city of Shawnee to have its own full-time co-responder. When the city joined the program two years ago, it funded a part-time co-responder. But data from last year showed the city required a full-time position. The part-time Shawnee co-responder has averaged 500 mental health contacts annually over the past two years. Among all Johnson County police agencies, Shawnee averages the third highest annual number of people requiring transport to a crisis stabilization center. During the 2018 budget process, City Council approved funding the transition to a full-time co-responder in the amount of $96,000. These funds encompass personnel costs, equipment, and vehicle maintenance.
The council approved a contract with Sink Combs Dethlefs for a feasibility study for a potential new community center in the amount of $114,750. The Denver-based company plans and designs community centers around the nation, including Colorado, Illinois and North Dakota. An additional community center for the residents of Shawnee has been discussed since 2005 when the city purchased 26.3 acres of land at 61st and Woodland for a potential site. During during the recession 10 years ago, plans fell by the wayside. The current Community Center Feasibility Study and Master Plan project is included in the 2018 Budget in the Parks and Pipes Fund. The process will have strong community involvement and direction. The study will also include an Operations Plan and ballot question to help determine if the city should move forward with the project.