nlike many politicians in similar situations, interim Parkville Mayor Gerry Richardson never wanted to be the mayor of his hometown.
“No. I did not ever have the ambition to be mayor,” Richardson told The Landmark on Monday evening. “My name has come up in the past, but I’ve always opted not to.”
After Charles Kutz resigned from the position last month on the heels of a felony driving while intoxicated charge, Parkville’s Board of Aldermen came calling for Richardson again, appointing the former Parkville Ward 4 alderman as the city’s newest mayor.
And although the position is largely viewed as ceremonial, Richardson had to exercise his tie-breaking vote powers in his very first meeting.
“Some mayors go their entire term without voting,” Richardson said. “It took me only one hour and fifteen minutes to use mine.”
And although he claims his vote wasn’t anything earth shattering (the matter was over utilization of the park for July 4th and the Lewis and Clark commemorations), Richardson says he has seen enough since then to reconsider his political ambitions. Although he will not run for mayor in the upcoming April 6 election, Richardson announced to The Landmark his intentions to run for Ward 4 aldermen as a write-in candidate.
In that ward, Gary Smith has recently pulled out of the race, leaving Brian Atkinson unopposed at this time. Richardson said that situation caused him to think about a run for office.
“I think it’s good to have two candidates running for any office, but more importantly, I’ve seen some things in the past two weeks that I want to help the city achieve,” Richardson said. “When I look at what’s going on in Parkville, I’m excited and invigorated by things. It’s gotten me fired up to get back into it.”
Richardson said he considered serving as the interim city administrator after Pat Hawver, the longtime city administrator of Parkville, decided to accept a government position in Kansas City. He points to his engineering background and management experience as qualifications for that job, but he says in his current job they’ve also come in handy.
The upcoming tax levy increase of $0.190 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, already on the ballot for the city’s consideration on April 6, is one such issue. He also said the city was in the position to save “serious money” in future financing for its sewer improvements.
“My job is to understand that and to take information to the public,” Richardson said. “I need to show them why it’s in their best interests.”