El Dorado Mayor Vince Haines visited with Extend and Jag-K students about local government and his position as mayor on September 9.
Haines asked students what they thought the mayor does for a city. After hearing their thoughts, he confirmed some ideas and dispelled the myths.
In El Dorado, the mayor position is an elected position that pays an annual stipend of $100. It is only part-time and duties include overseeing the city manager alongside the City Commission, helping create the policies that govern the city and its residents, and considering the cost versus benefits of various proposals.
Haines shared that his goals as mayor were to support local schools, encourage new businesses to come to El Dorado, and to find ways to improve the quality of life in El Dorado.
The mayoral term is two years, while the term of city commissioners is
four years. There are currently no term limits or pre-qualifications, other than living within the city limits, for
running for the mayor position. Voters are the ones who decide if a candidate is qualified to become the city mayor. Haines reiterated to students that in order to have their voice heard they must register to vote.
After graduating from El Dorado High School, Haines attended Butler Community College for one year. He then moved to Phoenix, Arizona to study computer drafting. In 1986, when he began the program, it was a new concept. Haines told students that the computers at that time were the size of filing cabinets.
After returning to El Dorado and working for an architecture company, Haines became intrigued with architectural design and decided to return to college at the University of Kansas to pursue a degree in that field.
"I didn't know when I graduated what I wanted to do with my life," Haines said. "It's all about what gets you excited."
When asked why he became interested in becoming the mayor, Haines replied that he was active in the community and enjoyed talking about the big picture of how things might affect the city as a whole. He wanted to contribute to improving his hometown, and decided running for mayor was a great way to do that.
For Haines, the most challenging aspect of being mayor is knowing there are problems that you do not have an answer to solve.
One student asked who was in charge of the El Dorado Lake. Haines provided a brief rundown of how it is structured. The lake and surrounding land is owned by the Tulsa Division of the Core of Engineers, but is managed by the Kansas State Parks. The water in the lake is owned by the City of El Dorado.
Haines has decided to step down as Mayor, and will likely be replaced by Bill Young, who is running unopposed on the November ballot.