Somebody’s got to be mayor

JGFitzgerald -- November 14th, 2008

The five candidates are Richard Baugh, Ted Byrd, Kai Degner, Carolyn Frank and Dave Wiens. Two say they don’t want it, one won’t comment, one says he’d take it, one smiles, if I read the DNR story correctly. So who should it be?

14 Responses to “Somebody’s got to be mayor”

  1. JGFitzgerald says:

    Kai, BTW, commented on the DNR story: “My comments regarding the mayorship were incompletely represented in this article. My complete comments were that this is a group decision the entire city council will make, that decision will be guided by what we feel is best for Harrisonburg, and I have no comment on my individual interest. I did acknowledge there are people inquiring about my thoughts. This is an important decision that requires thoughtfulness and input from each council person and I am confident that discussion will occur.”

  2. Justin C says:

    I’m not really concerned with who they pick, but I do have to ask.

    Why is it that someone always says the Mayor is the tie-breaker?

    There are 5 people all with equal votes. Couldn’t anyone claim to be the tie-breaker?

  3. JGFitzgerald says:

    The reason they say the mayor is the tie-breaker is that they are wrong. What they could say that would be right is that the mayor votes last.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Thanh says:

    Joe, can you enlighten me on this: I have been told that the Mayor also cannot give a motion. Is that true? And can the Mayor second a motion?

  5. republitarian says:

    Ted won’t get it, Dave won’t get it, Carolyn doesn’t want it, Kai is too new to the scene….

    Richard has run meetings….the job is Richard’s.

    I was going to do a post last week on Richard being the new mayor…but I don’t have a blog anymore.

  6. JGFitzgerald says:


    Right. The chair can’t make a motion and that’s basically what the mayor is. The equivalent is the chair of the Board of Supervisors, but there’s some elevation from the title itself. The mayor can’t second either. There are other specifications in Robert’s Rules of Order, but they can generally be ignored on the grounds that nobody knows about them.

  7. charles chenault says:

    Joe – other than running meetings, the mayor’s job is largely ceremonial. Kissing babies, attending grand openings, etc. I always thought that the best qualification for mayor was that the person selected was the one with the most free time. I guess it follows that the mayor should present the city well to the public.
    Your thoughts – Charlie

  8. JGFitzgerald says:


    Ceremonial, symbolic, public face of the city … oddly, I never thought of the reasons when I was in a position to do something about it. The first time around I’d already committed, and the second I just thought it would be fun to try. Time’s an issue. So, I suppose is money. The mayoral salary bump per year is what the mayor got per year at one time. Another factor is of course whether somebody wants it or not. An argument could be made that there’s something wrong with anybody who does.

  9. Clearly it is one of the top two vote getters. I have posted elsewhere making a prediction that it will be Kai as mayor with Richard as vice mayor.

    Richard is probably better at running meetings than Kai, but Kai is a smart guy who will probably figure it out quickly enough. Furthermore, he will be in accord with Richard and others on substantive matters regarding land use and development. I think Richard is more interested in concrete action on some of those matters and is very busy with lots of other things as well. Kai is an ambitious fresh face who will give an image of new innovativeness for the city in all those publicly symbolic activities, and while he is being carefully modest, will probably like to have “mayor” on his cv as he moves forward to other pastures and activities.

  10. David Miller says:


    I enjoy some of your predictions but doubt seriously that Kai has his resume in mind. I hope for his sake that he turns down the workload that is in inherent to the position.

  11. David,

    I did not mean that in any negative way. Kai has already accomplished some things that have received widespread attention (Orange Band Initiative). I have full confidence that he has a bright future and that we will be hearing of him in higher places. I do not think it is a main factor, but I have no problem with him having that extra boost in the future of having been a mayor rather than a vice mayor.

    Of course, in case it was not obvious, I have the highest regard for Richard and think he would be an excellent mayor. I suspect that it is up to Kai and Richard as to what will happen.

  12. Peppa says:

    I wonder if the new council will be replacing the city attorney? Now is the time to make the change. Just like
    Joe, Dorn and Carolyn did when they won.

  13. David Miller says:


    I understand you sentiment, I’ll still personally advise against even accepting the job. It’s always the political leader of said appointment doesn’t want it or doesn’t want to appear eager to “accept” the nomination of a particular title. We’ll see

  14. David,

    Both of them are fully capable, and each would be “mayoral” in his own distinctive way. Given that Kai was the vote leader, I think it is probably his to turn down.

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