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Wichita City Council to reorganize at Tuesday meeting

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, April 7, 2013, at 7:42 p.m.

The Wichita City Council will reorganize on Tuesday for 2013, welcoming a new vice mayor, a new District 4 council member and the return of three incumbents for new four-year terms.

Wichita businessman Jeff Blubaugh will take the oath of office as the new District 4 representative on the city council. He replaces Paul Gray, who served temporarily after Michael O’Donnell resigned at the end of 2012 to take the District 25 seat in the Kansas Senate.

Blubaugh, a Wichita real estate broker and developer, narrowly edged community volunteer Joshua Blick in the April 2 election.

He said his focus will be jobs, in an area hard-hit by aviation layoffs, and economic development.

Gray, a former two-term District 4 representative on the council who operates a construction firm, will be recognized for his service.

Then, the new council will select a vice mayor by ballot, replacing District 6 representative Janet Miller, who served in the post over the past year.

“It was a great year,” Miller said. “We continued several initiatives to move Wichita forward and I appreciated the opportunity to stand in for the mayor when he couldn’t attend events.”

The role also is a reminder, Miller said, about the dual focus of a council member.

“It’s a good reminder, actually, that you don’t just represent your district. You represent the entire city,” she said. “The year as vice mayor is a year that drives that point home.”

The new vice mayor will be selected by vote but council custom has District 2 representative Pete Meitzner in line for the role. Meitzner represented the city at the Final Four in Atlanta, but financed the trip himself, city officials said.

Three incumbents won four-year terms April 2: Lavonta Williams in District 1, James Clendenin in District 3 and Miller in District 6.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

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