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April 8, 2003

Yes, the local municipal election last week produced some interesting results and catapulted some of my friends and yours into positions of authority. Far as I know, all of them can handle their new jobs and they should compile good track records. Even better news is the realization that all the candidates in all the races were good citizens. It's hard to go wrong when that is true. We are fortunate to live in such a community.

As usual, the mayor's race held the spotlight, along with two contested council contests. However before we start examining the new municipal authorities too closely, let's hear some richly deserved applause for the outgoing officials. They have had the unenviable task of guiding this little city through some difficult times in the recent past, and they will have little to show for it except for a few pats on the back. Next time you see one of them, tell them you appreciate their service.

Mayor Leroy Rolling especially deserves a warm handshake for what he has accomplished. His honor took over the post when Mayor Bud Hollingsworth passed away. Mr. Rolling was president of the city council and moved up to succeed Bud, then won a full four-year term on his own merit. He completed much of his predecessor's program, including the important water line project that ensures a safe, adequate supply of that essential commodity for this community. Mayor Rolling would be the last one to claim all the credit for everything that has been accomplished during his tenure, but we all know that major projects don't succeed unless someone has a firm grip on the steering wheel. Congratulations, and many thanks, Leroy.

The city's new chief executive will be Etsell Emde, a strong, hard-driving individual who manages to get things done. Etsell won the mayor's job by narrowly defeating Jill Zimmer, the first woman to seek that position, with Clifton Franklin also in the race. As you know, candidates in our municipal elections do not run as Democrats or Republicans, or any other political label. Thus, no runoff elections are held.

Our new council will have a different composition when the newly elected members are seated. Representing ward two (post 1) will be Trish Engel, a registered nurse, succeeding John Nemec, who failed in his bid for reelection. Also in that race was Jesse Phillips. The new council member from ward four (post 1) will be Bob Neely, a retired highway patrolman, who defeated the incumbent, Hank Nida, and Darlene R. Roads. Lois Malget, a Perry bank executive and a former councillor, was elected without opposition for the office formerly held by Mr. Franklin.

Two school bond propositions were heartily approved, and that continues Perry's unique and enviable record in passing school bond issues. The need for these two matters was clearly stated by administrators and other school officials. This city has never failed to provide its public school system with adequate financing when a legitimate need was shown.

Perry has been well served by the council, the mayor and all the workers who tend to the myriad details their jobs require. Now is a good time to tell all of them that their dedication is appreciated, and to welcome the newcomers who soon will take the reins. Working in harmony, our elected officials have, the capability of getting things done.