Edmond Mayor Charles Lamb has announced his first mayoral election bid for the city’s top elected post. Lamb said he plans to delay his retirement in order to continue sharing his institutional knowledge with the City Council.
“We’ve got a good council, but it’s also a very inexperienced council,” said Lamb, 65. “Two members will be up for their first election.”
Councilmen Nick Massey, who was appointed to Ward 4, and Ward 3 appointee Councilman Darrell Davis have terms set to expire in May. Their seats also will be on the 2013 municipal ballot in April. Massey has said he plans to run for election.
“We haven’t as a council had a lot of testing yet that a council frequently goes through on land use and those kinds of things,” Lamb said. “We’ve had a couple of challenging meetings, but it generally hasn’t been land-use based where you have the emotions of the neighbors involved.”
Lamb is seasoned in city government while in his 16th year at the City Council. He first served on the City Council from 1993-97 before being re-elected to Ward 3 in 2001. He succeeded former Mayor Patrice Douglas on Nov. 14, 2011, after Douglas resigned from her post in order to accept an appointment to the Corporation Commission by Gov. Mary Fallin.
Douglas recommended that Lamb be appointed interim mayor. At the time, Douglas said then-Mayor Pro Tem Lamb’s knowledge would be critical in providing continuity for the city’s next steps after the Public Safety Center election, which voters approved 12 months ago. The council voted unanimously to appoint Lamb to the mayoral post.
Former Mayor Carl Reherman was surprised and delighted to learn that Lamb will seek election.
“He can provide some historical guidance just as his whole thought process on planning,” Reherman said. “I think it would be very hard to find somebody that has his skills and love of community to serve.” Reherman said he knows nothing of Lamb that would detract from his sense of community loyalty.
“As an old-timer, I’m excited,” Reherman said.
Lamb was deeply involved in important aspects of the Edmond community long before he was on the City Council, said Mitzi Hancuff, executive director of the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond.
“In my opinion he is the most knowledgeable person in our city on municipal government,” Hancuff said. “He makes and takes time to study all issues to be prepared as our mayor. Without exception in my association with Charles for over 20 years, he has been professional, visionary and dedicated in bringing excellence and positive energy to Edmond.”
Lamb has supported major projects that will come online for the city. He noted that the Edmond Softball Complex is expected to open in early fall of 2013. Construction of the Edmond Recreation & Aquatics Center is under way at Mitch Park, Lamb said. The $22.5 million facility is being built next to the Multi-activity Center and is scheduled to be completed by September 2013. The $25.5 million Public Safety Center, which will be located at the City of Edmond Administration Building, 100 E. First St., will open in 2015. Plans are for development of a six-story Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and conference center to the northwest corner of Interstate 35 and Covell.
“So there’s a lot of stuff that I’ve invested much time to date and would like to be around for the openings,” Lamb said. “That’s a personal thing, and basically my wife and I came to the understanding that two more years is not the same burden as four (years). We decided that we’d throw our hat out there and see what happens.”
Lamb said he looks forward to looking at the city’s upcoming parks plan and the bicycle plan and help embed them in the city’s semi-annual review.
“I still think there’s an opportunity for us to do regional detention and get a better community bang, versus the onsite detention area we require now,” Lamb said.
The City of Edmond doubles the lane miles every time it widens a section line road, he said. This creates a lot of impervious surface for water, he said.
A more appropriate response to community drainage would be to incorporate regional detention whenever possible, Lamb said. Recreational use of pure detention areas is also useful for areas such as the Edmond Softball Complex, he said.
The regional detention pond located west of the railroad tracks, north of Hurd, is another example of how detention areas also can offer recreational opportunities, including a walking trail, Lamb said.
“I am very pleased that he is seeking the election,” said David Tew, COO, Mercy Health System of Oklahoma, and a member of the Capital Projects and Financing Task Force.
“He is a very dedicated individual whose Edmond roots have a community commitment that really prepared him to serve as the mayor,” Tew said. “Secondly, my experience is that he is a very thoughtful and good listener and understands the needs of the community and has a good pulse of what’s going on.”
Filing for municipal elections will be Feb. 4-6. Primary elections for mayor and City Council are March 5 followed by a general election April 2. Elected candidates take office on the first Monday in May, said Steve Murdock, city attorney. Mayors are elected for two years. Council members serve four-year terms.
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