Wednesday, November 20, 2013

'Twelve years of public service can wear you out,' Bozarth says, looking forward to last year as mayor

By Jill Novak
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Bozarth at this year's Memorial Day service
After serving Midway as mayor for seven years, and due one more, Tom Bozarth is ready for a change.  Upon announcing his decision to not run for a third term last week, Bozarth explained in an interview, “It’s just the right time.”

Bozarth has also served two years on the city council, seven years on the Board of Directors of the Kentucky League of Cities, of which he is now president, and the last two years as an officer.

“Twelve years of public service can wear you out,” he said.

Reflecting on his two terms, Bozarth says he was surprised by the amount of time the job requires.

“In my first term, I was always in a hurry and wanted something quick,” he said Bozarth. “I realized that is not the way government works; it’s a full-time job.”

Asked for his reaction to Bozarth's news, Council Member Grayson Vandegrift said, “I think that he did a pretty good job and is ready to focus on other areas in his life.”

Vandegrift says he is planning to file for mayor in next year’s election. So is Council Member Sharon Turner.

Admitting that she was “a little surprised” by Bozarth’s decision to not run for a third term, Turner said,“He has set a lot of important procedures and processes in place.”

She added, “We’ve updated things like tax forms, the employee handbook and the city brochure and added transparency to them.”

As mayor, Bozarth has worked with council members on accomplishments like bringing recycling to Midway, maintaining a strong relationship with Midway College and working with the Midway Merchants Association on creating a “vibrant downtown,” he said. “Our economic development is something we should be proud of.”       
Ken Glass, the owner of the Railroad Drug and Old Time Soda Fountain, recalls Bozarth encouraging him and his wife Amanda to open their store.

“He’s a friend of mine and I think Midway is better with him being mayor,” Glass said.

Kenny Smith, president of the Midway Merchants Association and owner of the Kennydid Art Gallery, said the mayor made the right decision: “I agree with his decision that politicians should have term limits.”

Smith said Bozarth “liked to do things his way,” and he and the mayor had some disagreements over the last two years. He declined to reveal them and said, “He’s done a lot for this town and maybe it is time for some new ideas.”

Leslie Penn, owner of the Historic Midway Museum Store, said the next mayor should be “someone who is willing to adjust to the times. . . . History isn’t everything.” She also said she would like to see a woman mayor.

Asked what he would like to see in the next mayor, Bozarth said, “I hope that the next mayor has a vision and work ethic to continue to put Midway first.” 

He added, “If you want Midway to be a special place, it takes a whole lot of work.”

Looking forward to the additional position he will hold for the last year of his mayoral term, Bozarth said he is confident in the experience that he can bring to the table as president of the Kentucky League of Cities.

“I think I’m a real advocate for small cities,” he said.

Information for this story was also gathered by Community Journalism student Allan Ducker.

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