With the Grain Valley Board of Aldermen elections less than two weeks away (April 7), each of three wards includes an incumbent candidate and a fresh face.

With the Grain Valley Board of Aldermen elections less than two weeks away (April 7), each of three wards includes an incumbent candidate and a fresh face.

The following are profiles on each candidate and why he wants to serve on the board of aldermen:

Ward 1

Ward 1 incumbent Dale Arnold is completing his first two-year board term. Arnold, who has resided in Grain Valley for 21 years, says serving on the board has been an educational experience.  

“It took me a little while to get in the swing of things,” Arnold said. “There’s a number of things that I’d like to follow-up on like the adjustments on water and sewer rates.”

Arnold said the city also needs to focus on attracting businesses so residents can spend their money in Grain Valley and support the local economy.

“That can be the full gamut from shoe stores to clothing stores to additional restaurants and service stores – at least they would have the option to shop here,” said Arnold, a firefighter with the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District.

Arnold will face Chester Piotrowski in the Ward 1 election. A Grain Valley resident of 12 years, Piotrowski served on the board from 2003-07. Arnold defeated the two-term incumbent in 2007, and Terry Beebe defeated him in the 2008 election.

Piotrowski, who is semi-retired, says he is optimistic that the third time’s a charm as he travels door-to-door and advertises to get his name recognized again. He wants to discuss Grain Valley’s revenue and expenses with city administration and then determine ways to save money until the economic recession ends.

“There’s a lot of decisions to be made with the way the economy is right now. I think I would do a good job in making decisions for the community,” Piotrowski said. “Our main source of income is the housing permits and the water taps. Housing is down, and the money isn’t coming in like it was a year or two ago.”

Ward 2

First elected in April 2007, Chuck Johnston is seeking a second term as an alderman. Johnston, a supervisor for the claims department of Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, has worked in Grain Valley since 1988 and has called the city his home for seven-and-a-half years. Johnston said he has a strong common-sense approach and examines issues thoroughly before making decisions.

“I feel that the city has a lot of changes to be made, and I want to be a part of those changes,” Johnston said. “I want to make sure they are made properly and that the money is spent wisely.”

The election will mark a first for Daniel Strack, who operates his own floor installation business. Strack grew up in Grain Valley, moved away for about five years and has lived in Ward 2 since 2002. He filed for election because he and his neighbors were unhappy with several responses Strack received when he contacted his ward aldermen regarding the city’s downtown revitalization project.

“The biggest issue is that myself and my neighbors receive better representation,” Strack said.

“The biggest issue is that the rest of the citizens of Grain Valley don’t get rolled over. This government is founded on the citizens controlling the government, not the government controlling the citizens.”

Though Nancy Totton’s name appears on the sample ballot as a Ward 2 candidate, she announced at the Jan. 26 board of aldermen meeting that she had withdrawn her candidacy.

Ward 3

Mike Scully, a maintenance technician at Fike Corporation in Blue Springs, has served on the Grain Valley Board of Aldermen for 10 years and has resided in Grain Valley for 31 years.

The economy is the most important issue facing Grain Valley, Scully says, as the city continues to finish infrastructure projects that have been promised for years in Ward 1 while maintaining its expenditures.

“I enjoy doing it. Sometimes I don’t, but for the most part, I enjoy doing it,” Scully said with a laugh.

“I like being involved. The bottom line is that I care. I care where I live, and I care about Grain Valley. I plan to live here another 31 years.”

In his first time running for a public office, Jamie Duncan is the other Ward 3 candidate. Duncan, who is attending college to earn a political science degree, said he filed because he and his wife plan to grow their family in Grain Valley.

“For me, I’d like to make sure that we’re being wise with our money and that we’re attracting new things to the city,” said Duncan, who has resided in Grain Valley since March 2007. “I do want to be involved in politics. I come from a small town of about 350 people, and I always had an interest in seeing that town grow, but I was one of the few people who did. I would like to be a part of Grain Valley and its growth, so that’s why I decided to run. ”