As mayor, Joe Reardon never lost the common touch
The Kansas City Star
Joe Reardon will be remembered as the mayor who landed the Cerner/Sporting Kansas City and Google Fiber projects for Wyandotte County.
Those are huge economic development coups aimed at bringing sorely needed good-paying jobs to the region’s most impoverished corner, and sustaining western Wyandotte County’s momentum as a tourist designation.
Myself, I’ll remember Reardon for his unabashed enthusiasm for his city, and the open door he kept to its citizens.
From the beginning of his first term, he sponsored “First Floor, First Friday.” At this monthly event, Reardon would pull up a chair and give anybody who wants it a private audience for 10 minutes. Citizens would talk about needs in their neighborhoods, their problems with City Hall bureaucracy or their ideas for the community. They had the mayor’s full attention. Sometimes he could help and sometimes he couldn’t, but people appreciated his time.
Always buoyant, Reardon has been a tireless cheerleader for a region with great potential and big problems. He has run a scandal-free administration – no small feat given Wyandotte County’s past.
They mayor is announcing today that he won’t run for a third term. His sons are growing up fast and he wants to spend time with his family.
“I’m not going away,” Reardon told me this morning. “My next step will continue that kind of commitment.”
He didn’t say what the next step would be. As a lawyer and successful ex-mayor, he should have a lot of offers to choose from.
Reardon’s announcement doesn’t leave potential successors much time. They have until noon on Jan. 22 to file for the all-important Feb. 26 primary. My guess is that Reardon has his choice for a successor primed and ready to go, and the lateness of his announcement was at least partly to avoid giving lead time to some folks he’d rather not see in the mayor’s chair. But it will be a wild couple of months in Wyandotte County.