Leadership proves key to city's growth

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Steven Burch was sworn in as Sikeston's new mayor during the reorganization of the city council this week filling the post of former Mayor Jerry Pullen.

By any definition, Burch will have some big shoes to fill.

Jerry Pullen provided 27 years of dedicated service as a council member and two-term mayor.

The list of accomplishments during his tenure is impressive. But in typical fashion, Pullen deflected most of the credit and said his actions were part of a "team effort."

And although it does indeed take a team effort and a level of cooperation, it also takes leadership. Pullen provided that leadership at every turn.

The council also seated new members Gerald Settles, Karen Evans and Ryan Merideth setting the stage for what I firmly believe will be a new era of leadership, growth and progress for our community.

The council - like all before it - will face ample challenges going forward including the ever-present challenge of devising a city budget that balances revenues with needs.

Hit with a $300,000 increase in health insurance, the city will look for all opportunities to increase revenue and decrease costs.

But within a city budget - just like your household budget - there are some expenses that are just part of doing business. And when those costs increase, it takes a delicate balancing act to juggle the finances and keep the city in a good position.

We have full faith that this council will balance those challenges and continue to move our community forward.

Kathy Teachout, who was term limited, and John Graham, who was replaced by Gerald Settles, should be commended for their service to our community.

Having had the pleasure to work with Mrs. Teachout on the LCRA and the Housing Authority Board, her service will be especially missed and her dedication will be hard to replace.

It may be words that have been spoken in the past, but it's easy to argue that our community is poised for growth and expansion in the years ahead.

We have all of the ingredients in place to make that leap that has long been predicted and even longer anticipated.

Orgill's expansion announcement last week and the opening of the Three Rivers campus here are but two signs of good things to come.

Settles and others campaigned on a program to grow our retail community and that is an emphasis that is sorely needed.

Having worked with city councils in Sikeston for over 40 years, I am excited about the potential and the level of enthusiasm that this council brings to our community.

The key to success for any community is to have the right leaders in place at the right time. Give that council the tools to grow along with the participation of the entire community and good things will follow.

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