First Ward city councilman elected Mayor of Beatrice
BEATRICE - A city councilman will become the new Mayor of the City of Beatrice. Bob Morgan won the race in this Tuesday’s election over fellow councilman Gary Barnard, by an unofficial vote of 2,124-to-1,579. He'll take over for Stan Wirth, who is completing his second term as the city's top elected official in December.
"It was just kind of a steady campaign. I had a lot of support from the local community and my whole focus was just to be positive and focus on what strengths I bring to the Mayor position."
Both candidates said they expected a no-nonsense, clean campaign following the primary, and that’s what it was. Barnard congratulating his opponent on his victory. "It's an honor to have that many people support you in a small town. But, first and foremost I want to congratulate Bob. He won it fair and square and we both agreed when we started this we weren't going to delve into the national politics. I'll support him all I can and work hard with him as a councilman when I can...and that's probably 95-percent of the time...we agree on most everything. When I don't agree I'll voice my opinion and we'll get along just fine."
Morgan said there is no shortage of work on the mayor and council’s plates. "We got a lot of things going. We know we're going to have to address the landfill. We got the Lincoln Street Project, the downtown study...we know inflation is going to hit a few things. We know with that zero percent loan we will be doing some things with infrastructure projects, so we're going to have a busy first year."
Morgan says having been on the city council lessens the learning curve somewhat as he becomes mayor. He’ll been working with four new members elected to the body. "Mike McLain coming back as the City Council President. I think if you look at Terry and Dave....they bring some strengths to the table that we don't have. And then, of course we still have Gary, who has a real dedication to the City of Beatrice." Duane Ruh is a new fourth ward councilman, having been unopposed this year.
Morgan said of the mayor’s race….he’s happy with the way it was run….adding, “there’s enough mud being thrown nationally”. Barnard said he looks forward to working with Morgan as he continues in his Fourth Ward position, with a goal to keep the local economy viable.
"The Board of Public Works stuff, thats kind of, I won't say it runs itself but it kind of does. Our department heads know exactly what to do and how everything operates. I would say, and I think Bob would agree with me on this, I think economic development is a big deal. I think we also need to try to work out some agreements with our county supervisors so we can get rid of some of the bad discourse that is going on. We really could work on that a lot. Sometimes, both sides have to put their ego in their back pocket and give and take. But, I think with work and a couple of new councilmen on, we'll be just fine, in that regard."
Barnard says it’s a strong city council that has been elected.
City Council President Mike McLain won reelection over Paul Fanning, by a vote of 385 to 203. Terry Doyle won the first ward race, defeating Jon Rosenthal, 697-to-298. Dave Eskra won a second ward position on the council, defeating Harold Mason, 690-to-251.
The City of Wymore has a new Mayor, pending certification of the final result. Collin Meints unseated incumbent Milton Pike, 229-to-198. In the Wymore ward two council race, Neil VanBoening defeated Jeffrey Spier, 168-to-67.