On Nov. 5, 2019, the citizens of Seymour elected me to serve as mayor of Seymour.
That means you decided, as the executive official, I have to make the day-to-day decisions related to how the future of our community is shaped and how we get there from here.
Even when headaches rise, I cannot thank you enough for your trust in me. Before I write the whole update on this topic, let me share some of what my week has looked like.
Recording a Seymour Moments podcast with Kate Garrity from Child Care Network is always a good way to start the week. Kate shared a little history of her organization before she shared some details about their newest project, a child care center.
They have recently purchased a large downtown building and are in the early stages of helping water the child care desert here in Jackson County. We have more than double the children per seat as the requirement to be deemed a desert.
Ribbon cuttings are on the rise recently. Congratulations to Dr. Marcia Monroe on her new optometry office located on West Brown Street and Brewskies Downtown located on East Second Street.
I walked away from the second meeting of the Mayor’s Youth Council in amazement yet again. As the group discusses various topics, one thing comes back to the surface over and over again: Community. It comes in many shapes and forms, but our youth want to see a sense of community grow for all of our futures.
I encourage you to see what your own kids think would make Seymour a better place. Some will have ideas of exact things, but see if those items really lead to a place to gather or connect with those around them.
My department visit this week was turning dirt with Chad Keithley from parks and recreation. After a full day, we had the site prep almost complete for the two travel ball diamonds being built at Freeman Field. Ending the day hot, dirty and sweaty was a great reminder of what it takes to accomplish anything.
I have said it before and I will say it again: Reach out to me. Ask questions. Give me a chance to explain how we got to a decision. I know some won’t believe this, but we have yet to flip a coin or throw a dart during the process of making any decision. I have also been known to hear your valid points and admit when I am wrong.
In my years as a business owner, I learned to read a situation and see what my gut reaction was to it. Then read it again and again until I almost have the topic memorized. Then after seeking outside input from trusted advisers, I always check back in with my original gut feeling. Have I learned enough details to go against what my first reaction was?
Recently, I have been trying to go against my gut on a grant that was received from the Jackson County Visitor Center during the last administration. The details are more than can or need to be discussed here in this column, but after looking at it since late last year when the first error was discovered a few days after it was awarded, I have been uneasy about several details.
At the most recent board of public works and safety meeting, I asked the board to vote to return the grant to allow us to move forward with all three projects and free ourselves of the lingering questions related to it.
Why did I choose the board of works for this vote? They were chosen for two reasons. First is the board of works is the board that makes the day-to-day decisions related to the city. They still have to approve many decisions that other boards and committees make on the executive side of city government. I chose not to go to the common council, as they are the legislative side.
The second reason for choosing the board of works is they are local decision makers that I trust to look toward the future without letting the noise distract them from what is best for our community.
If you have a role with our city government, I would hope your first reaction when notified about this would be to reach out and ask me questions. If your first reaction was to reach out to anyone besides the members of the board of works looking for answers, are you really here for the better of our community?
Thank you to the Jackson County Visitor Center board for granting us an extension a few weeks ago. I do appreciate it and hope we can find a way to come back together in the future.
I leave you today with this quote from Steve Jobs: “You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].