Independence City Council Member Eileen Weir is running for mayor.
“I have been urged to consider this my many of my supporters. ... I feel like I’m ready to lead the city as mayor,” Weir said Monday.
The election is in April. It’s an open seat. Mayor Don Reimal is wrapping up his second four-year term and is not running again. Council Member Jim Schultz also is running for mayor.
Weir pointed to several transitions in key positions in the city: a new president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce last fall, a new Independence School District superintendent this summer, and a new mayor and at least one new at-large City Council member in the spring.
“I do feel like it’s a very exciting time of change for Independence, and I want to be part of that,” she said.
Weir represents the 4th District, roughly the southwest quarter of the city. She was elected in 2012.
“With the support of the council, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot of things in the 4th District in the last year and a half. ... I think we’ve really seen a resurgence in the 4th District,” she said.
Weir said it’s critical that the city communicate clearly Ð both ways Ð with residents.She said issues she heard about most often when she ran two years ago were the city’s appearance and upkeep, as well as the perception of a crime problem. She said it’s critical to involve people in finding solutions to neighborhood and communtity problems.
“But the bottom line is you’ve got to talk to people,” she said.
She said the city general fund Ð growing slowly as a reflection of the economy Ð needs close attention “because we’re understaffed in every single department” and the city has to keep up with the services people expect.
Despite the frequently expressed concerns about crime in the city, voters last year rejected a property tax increase to add officers. That need for more officers, Weir said, is still there. “That’s absolutely evident,” she said.
Weir said the city needs to work closely with the Chamber of Commerce and Independence Economic Development so businesses looking at comng to the city get the information they need quickly. She said she’s heard that some think the city is’t easy to do business with that that the city’s management analyst is looking into that issue. Officials have surveyed builders and developers.
“But we want people to know that we’re open for business,” she said.
Reimal has endorsed Schultz, an at-large council member and mayor pro tempore.
“I understand it. It doesn’t bother me. ... I have nothing but respect for both of them,” she said.
She said as a district council person she’s been more deeply involved in what she called “the ground-level issues,” whereas Schultz as an at-large member is more focused on citywide issues.
“it’s good and bad,” she said. “He has the experience. He maybe doesn’t have the perspective of someone new.”
It’s unclear if others will get in the race as well. Filing for the race opens Oct. 15.
Council member running for mayor