Stillwater News Press

February 13, 2013

VIDEO: Long-term progress key to Stillwater's mayor

By Chris Day
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater Mayor John Bartley isn’t ticking boxes off a checklist, saying his vision for Stillwater stretches beyond his time in office. “Some of the problems we have had in the past is too many elected officials are wanting to accomplish things that you can check a box right now and say they’re done. ... The things I’m working on are going to make the next mayor look like a superstar because that’s when they will really be finishing or we will be really able to take advantage of the progress that is being done now,” Bartley said. Bartley will complete his first year as mayor in March. In January, he was selected Citizen of the Year by the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. The mayor said his selection as Citizen of the Year was an honor and a surprise because the Chamber has presented the award to many residents who spent their lives working to make Stillwater a better place to live and work. It also came as a surprise because Bartley said setting a vision for the city and promoting the attributes that define Stillwater and its residents are a mayor’s duties. “It’s those natural duties or jobs that a mayor or leader needs to be doing. I don’t think I did anything extra or above and beyond what a good leader for our community was,” he said. “I was very honored to win the award.”Eliminating divisiveness and forging common ground, Bartley said, were his immediate priorities when he took office in March 2012. The Council and administrative staff didn’t need to agree on everything, but needed to “at least be on the same page.” “Let’s pull together. We are a team. We need to be working as such,” Bartley said. “I spent a lot of time and a lot of energy just working with people — just getting to know people better and from a different perspective than just on the City Council. That’s both city staff and city councilors. ... I spent a lot of time and energy making sure we were all working together. I think we accomplished that.” People must work to maintain relationships and build upon them, he said. The mayor pointed to several successful initiatives, including a citywide curbside recycling program that will begin this summer and water system improvements. The city has two tools under development — a downtown parking study and comprehensive master plan update. Public input meetings are scheduled Saturday and Monday on the comprehensive master plan and Tuesday for the parking study. All the meetings will be held at the Community Center. The master plan meetings will be 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday. The parking meeting will start at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The mayor’s goals for his second year in office involve infrastructure, economic development and quality of life. “Every dollar the city spends should be touching at least one of those ideas. A lot of times, they will touch multiple of those ideas,” he said. Proposed projects may be the germ of an idea. The public will be asked to define and refine the idea into a working project, the mayor said.