At the final City Commission meeting in June, I will be resigning as Mayor of the City of Atchison. Don’t worry, I have not been involved in any scandal. I’ve been stuck at home for the last two months, so I haven’t been able to get into any trouble. Corona Virus has changed the world, and with it, my wife’s job. I would never ask my wife to stay to further my own goals, and my mayor’s salary of $75/year isn’t going to put food on the table.
I plan to continue serving as mayor while we open everything back up. I feel it is essential to have consistency during this time. Once I resign, I have complete faith in my fellow commissioner’s ability to carry on.
It has been my great honor to serve the City of Atchison. We have made our home here and just a couple weeks ago I couldn’t have imagined leaving. It breaks my heart to go, but I’m proud of what we have accomplished.
In my three years on the City Commission, I have been able to play a role in building trails, expanding our sidewalk network, opening the Fox Theatre, building a new playground, reimagining our downtown, building a farmers market pavilion, improving our streets, remodeling our police station, improving housing, building entrepreneurship, and much more.
None of this would have happened without our City Manager Becky Berger. Voting to hire Becky was one of my first and best decisions as a City Commissioner. She has assembled a fantastic staff that cares about our community and works daily to make a difference.
To my friends and supporters, I can’t help but feel like I’ve let you down. I have worked hard to put Atchison on a path towards a great future, but you will have to go down that path without me. Small towns across Kansas are shrinking, but Atchison has a real chance to beat that trend.
This is an energized community with big things on the horizon. Our history resonates and influences our future. We are a city of pioneers. Lewis and Clark set up camp on our banks, the ATSF railroad originated here before cutting a path westward, and Amelia Earhart developed her bold sense of adventure. We carry that spirit still to this day. We value risk-takers and entrepreneurs, and we have seen tremendous growth in new businesses. Atchison is investing in itself and has an exciting future.
As a mayor, I couldn’t do all the work. Heck, I didn’t even do most of it, but what I tried to do was set the tone for our community. My ask of you moving forward is this: Encourage the ones who are stepping out and taking risks, praise the ones who are volunteering to improve our town and nurture the next generation of leaders here in Atchison.
I am heartbroken to leave, and I will treasure my time here. Even writing this column, I keep using the word “we.” I think I always will when speaking of Atchison. We won’t be here, but I will be rooting for you. Atchison is in good hands, and I look forward to watching what comes next.