Kespohl tells Parks and Rec Commission they have a friend on Council

Gary Kespohl

Third Ward councilman Gary Kespohl received a plaque at the April 16 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting for his service on the commission. He started representing the Third Ward on the commission in 2007 and his term was set to expire on May 31. Photo by Ryan Martin.

I caught up with Third Ward councilman Gary Kespohl during the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting on Thursday night. Kespohl, who represented the Third Ward on the commission for three years, received a plaque for his service. I asked him some questions about his transition from the Parks and Recreation Commission to the City Council.

How does it feel to be starting the transition process from the Parks and Recreation Commission to the City Council?
You know I really enjoyed my time on Parks and Recreation. That’s where my heart and soul is. It always has been with youth sports. I’m looking forward to Council. I’ve found out already that it’s a lot of work. We’ve been going nonstop since Monday night and it doesn’t slow down. But I’m looking forward to getting on Council and making some changes — hopefully for the betterment of the city.

And how do you expect your time on the commission to help out with your responsibilities as a council member?
If gives you insight on what these folks do.

Do you expect to approach the city issues any differently in your new role?
You have to study each issue as it comes — Even in Parks and Recreation and you have to do the same thing in the city (council), weigh the pros and cons of every issue and just make a decision.

You told the Commission that they had a friend on Council now. Do you see yourself as an ambassador for Parks and Recreation?
It seemed to me like the last six or eight months, whenever the Parks and Recreation would come to council, they would have a lot of questions for them and second guess a lot of things that Parks and Recreation were doing. I really think the council should rely more on their commissions to do the right thing … I think the previous councils tried to micromanage the city and I don’t think this council will do that.

Do you think you’re going to miss anything about being on the commission?
I’ll miss the people. I’ve made some friends and I’ll always be friends with them. I hope, if they have any kinds of issues, they’ll come to me.

Now that you’ve had a couple moments to breathe following the campaign and election, how do you expect Monday to go?
It’s a learning process. I have a meeting with the mayor in the morning. He and I are going to talk for about two hours and get up to speed on what’s going on. He’s been brought up to speed by the former mayor. Now he’s meeting with the new council people one on one and bringing us up to speed. We’ve got a lot of decisions to make and a short time to do it.

Are you excited to dig in?
I really am. We kind of had to hit the ground running.

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