This past Monday, Weekly Observer staff had a chance to speak with outgoing Sedalia Mayor Elaine Horn about her time in office as mayor of Sedalia and as a member of the Sedalia City Council. Mayor Horn has been a staple of City Hall since taking office as a First Ward council member in 2006. While serving on the city council, Horn took over mayoral duties after Mayor Bob Wasson passed away, and then she was elected for a four-year term as mayor. Horn has spent the last four years and eleven months as the mayor of Sedalia, and the previous three years and one month as a council member.
Horn was asked if she had enjoyed her time as mayor of Sedalia.
“I enjoyed my time and I think it went well, even though there were some people that didn’t agree,” Horn said.
Horn was asked if, during her time in office, she had a chance to connect with the citizens of Sedalia.
“I met some great people during my time in office. We have a lot of citizens that are very committed to our city. We have a lot of community leaders that do a lot that people will never know. One of the things I love about this community is that it is a team getting the job done,” Horn said.
Horn was asked about some of the things she was most proud of the city accomplishing while she served as mayor, as well as some personal projects that she was involved in.
“I am proud of the Mayor’s Junior Civic Leaders Group. I think it has given the girls an opportunity to learn how to work with leaders in their community. I am also proud that we became a Tree City USA. The Clean Sedalia Committee is something I am very grateful for having in place. It is an important aspect of continued growth and to preserve what we have,” Horn said.
Mayor Horn spoke about her involvement with the Economic Development of Sedalia/Pettis County and what economic development means to Sedalia.
“Economic development is critical to your survival as a community and growth as a whole. For me it is an honor to be a part of Linda Christle’s team. She is very meticulous at who plays a role in courting companies to come here. It is a relationship I hope to continue,” Horn said.
The Weekly Observer asked Horn, if during her time as mayor did she feel as if she, city council and city staff were able to work together for the betterment of the community.
“For the most part it was a good council. There was a little diversity to overcome, but that is normal. Overall we accomplished a lot. I think the city is in a better position definitely, because we had good people in place. Without our dedicated department heads and employees, we would have nothing. Every job is important,” Horn explained.
No elected office is without its controversy and the Sedalia Mayor’s Office had some controversial topics of its own. Horn spoke about some of the projects that divided the community in one way or another.
“The Washington Street Bridge Project was controversial and it shouldn’t have been. It was a public safety issue and you have to address those. The Sedalia Public Library was another issue. We have a very vibrant and well used library, and to not fix it would have been a huge misstep on our part.
“The renovation of City Hall was another good project, but it was controversial as well. When you have a 40 year old facility, at some point you have to modernize it for technology and efficiency in serving the community,” Horn said of several issues deemed controversial during her time in office.
She added, “We had been doing band aid fixes. Sooner or later you just stop the band aid approach and fix it right.”
Horn was asked if she was ready to take a step back and if the transition has been easy.
“I am ready to turn the gavel over to the mayor-elect. For me personally, eight years is a good amount of time to be blessed to be an elected official. I think Steve (Galliher) will do well. He has a good council in place. I think the citizens of Sedalia like the direction we are going, which to me personally was evident in the outcome of the recent elections,” she said.
Horn then spoke about some of the activities she plans on staying a part of after leaving office.
“I am going to continue mentoring at Washington Elementary School. I am also going to stay involved in Whiteman Air Force Base. I am also going to stay involved in the neighborhood clean sweeps. I am very committed to it. It will be nice to take a break and choose what I want to stay involved with,” Horn said. Photo by Randy Kirby, Sedalia Weekly Observer.