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Oaths taken as council reorganizes
Applications sought to fill vacant Ward 4 seat
outgoing council, mayor honored
Outgoing Great Bend City Council members Dan Heath (far left) and Andrew Erb (far right), and Mayor Joe Andrasek are honored Monday night for their service during the City Council meeting Monday night. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Outgoing city officials honored

Prior to the swearing in of new Great Bend City Council members and the new mayor Monday night, outgoing governing body members were recognized by City Administrator Kendal Francis for their years of service. 

Honored were outgoing council members Dan Heath from Ward 1 (who was replaced by Alan Moeder) and Andrew Erb (whose Ward 4 seat remains vacant since no one filed and he did not refile), and Mayor Andrasek. They were presented with plaques and their official City Hall portraits.  

“Thank you for motivating the younger generation to get involved,” Francis said to Erb. Erb was a student at Barton Community College in November 2017 when he was elected.

Francis thanked Heath, a teacher at Great Bend High School who was also elected in 2017, for his work on the council. “Both you and Andrew came in at a time of some upheaval,” he said, referring to the controversy surrounding former Police Chief Cliff Couch.

As for Andrasek, a local business owner who was elected in 2017 as well, “you were the perfect person to lead the city during that transition,” Francis said. In that troubled time, Francis said Andrasek had the ideal temperment for the job.

The new City of Great Bend governing body members officially took their seats Monday night after their election last November. They took their oaths of office in the City Council chambers at City Hall during the council’s first meeting of the year. 

Sworn in were newly elected council members Alan Moeder for Ward 1 (replacing Dan Heath who did not re-file), Jolene Biggs (who was reelected in Ward 2) and Cory Urban (who was reelected in Ward 3), and Mayor Cody Schmidt (who was a write-in candidate). City Clerk Shawna Schafer administered the oaths for the changing of the guard.

Brock McPherson currently serves as a Ward 4  council member. In addition to waging an unsuccessful bid for mayor last November, he was the top of four candidates garnering write-in votes for the other Ward 4 seat on Nov. 5, an opening for which no one had filed.

The council consists of eight members, with two representing each of the four wards and each serving two-year terms. Every year, one seat in each ward is up for election.

An open council seat

McPherson opted to keep his current position and not accept the new one. If he had wanted to switch, he would have resigned his current seat and been sworn into the new position he was elected for in November 2019 since a member cannot concurrently hold two seats, city officials said. 

He was elected in November 2018 to his current seat, meaning he is up for reelection in 2020. But, the other second Ward 4 position that is up for reelection 2021 remains vacant.

As a result of McPherson’s action, the council is now tasked with filling the vacant Ward 4 position. 

Schmidt said applications will be sought through Jan. 17, and are available at City Hall, 1209 Williams, and on the city’s website at The mayor appointed council members McPherson, Biggs, Jessica Milsap and Urban along with himself to a committee of council members to review the applications, hold interviews and make a recommendation to the entire governing body.

A change of pace

The swearing in was a change for elected Great Bend officials.

The Kansas Legislature made some changes this last session to when new governing body members take office. These applied to the council and mayor.

Up until this year, the elected officials took office the second Monday of January on a day no regular meeting was scheduled. But, oaths can now to be administered anytime between the first of December and the second Monday in January.

Great Bend settled on the first regular meeting in January.

Other action

Next, Urban was elected as the council president. The council president is a serving council member elected by the members of the City Council to serve in the temporary absence of the mayor.

As part of the reorganizing, the council approved giving Schmidt banking authority. This is a routine action following the election of a new mayor.

Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Recognized outgoing council members Dan Heath and Andrew Erb, and Mayor Andrasek for their years of service.

• Held a swearing-in ceremony for newly elected council members Alan Moeder for Ward 1, Jolene Biggs (who was reelected in Ward 2) and Cory Urban (who was reelected in Ward 3), and Mayor Cody Schmidt (who was a write-in candidate).

• Elected Urban as council president.

• Approved giving Schmidt banking authority. This is a routine action following the election of a new mayor.

• Addressed the now vacant Fourth Ward council seat. Applications will be sought to fill the opening.

• Heard an update from City Administrator Kendal Francis. He focused on the Crest Theater renovations and the improvements to the Great Bend Municipal Airport main runway.