Maness seeks re-election

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Bill Maness

Bill Maness, completing his first term as Iola’s mayor, filed for re-election Wednesday. The mayor’s seat is the only position up for election this April. Potential candidates must file in the city clerk’s office by noon Tuesday.
Whoever is elected will serve a one-year term, an outcome of last year’s successful referendum to change the form of Iola’s governance.
“When I was elected three years ago, I requested a restructure of city government and moving meetings to night,” Maness said. “I’m pleased with the upcoming changes. It’s exciting to see the citizens take back their government. Local government should be the most accessible of all.”
Without further action after the referendum, Iola would have defaulted to an eight-member council and mayor in 2011. However, commissioners intend to propose a charter ordinance for a smaller governing body. A citizens advisory committee settled on a six-member council and mayor. Commissioners — Maness, Bill Shirley and Craig Abbott — may accept that recommendation at Tuesday’s meeting.
“I do think it is an excellent time in the community with all that is happening and I think the next year will be a continuation of the process,” he said, including what he called “historical movement” to a more open and accessible form of city government.
Meetings are also proposed to be moved to nights. Having afternoon commission meetings limits who can run, Maness said.
“Not every company will permit employees to be away from work for afternoon meetings,” he said, “and it also limits the number of citizens who may attend meetings.”
Maness said he delayed filing until he obtained permission from Haldex Brake, his employer, to take time off for mayoral obligations if re-elected.

IN MORAN, three council seats will be determined April 6. Moran candidates may file in their city clerk’s or Allen County clerk’s office. The filing deadline is noon Tuesday.