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Lawrence City Commission to vote on new mayor, vice mayor; recently elected commissioners to be sworn in

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Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday will welcome the newly elected commissioners, say goodbye to another, and select the next mayor and vice mayor.

Traditionally, the commissioners in even years elect the last election’s top two vote recipients as mayor and vice mayor. In odd years, like this year, the mayor generally nominates the vice mayor to take the helm next, and the top vote recipient in the election held weeks prior is nominated to serve as vice mayor.

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If tradition holds, current Vice Mayor Bart Littlejohn will be nominated as mayor, and Mike Dever will be nominated as vice mayor. Lisa Larsen is currently mayor, and she would resume the role of commissioner.

Dever served on the commission from 2007 to 2015, including two terms as mayor, before choosing not to run for reelection in 2015. With all ballots counted, Dever received 9,277 votes in the Nov. 7 general election.

Incumbents Brad Finkeldei and Amber Sellers were both reelected. They came in second and third, with 8,006 votes and 7,343 votes, respectively. Dever, Finkeldei and Sellers will be sworn in Tuesday. Commissioner Courtney Shipley, who was first elected in 2019 and has served a year as vice mayor and as mayor, came in fourth with 6,788 votes, and her term will end Tuesday.

Finkeldei was first elected to a four-year term in 2019. Sellers was first elected to a two-year term in 2021. Commissioners in February voted to make all five commissioner terms run four years going forward, so Sellers’ new term will run through 2027, as will Dever’s and Finkeldei’s.

Larsen and Littlejohn were reelected and elected, respectively, in 2021, and their terms run through 2025.

In other business, the commission will receive an update from consulting firm Confluence, which is guiding the Parks and Recreation, Arts and Culture Comprehensive Plan for the city. Commissioners in March approved spending about $189,000 on the consulting contract.

The commission meeting is set to begin at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5 at Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. See the full agenda at this link.

Meetings are open to the public and livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/lawrenceksvideo. People may give public comment during meetings or submit written public comment to commissioners until noon the day of the meeting by emailing ccagendas@lawrenceks.org.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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Molly Adams / Lawrence Times

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