Dallas' new mayor experiences whirlwind first week

Armed with his spanking-new hand-held electronic organizer, Dallas Mayor Jim Fairchild tackled his new job last week.

DALLAS -- Armed with his spanking-new hand-held electronic organizer, Dallas Mayor Jim Fairchild tackled his new job last week.

After being sworn in Tuesday night as the city's 22nd mayor since 1900, his schedule started filling up with meetings.

Fairchild started off the week by meeting with DHS Principal Dave Novotney.

"We talked about some ways to get students involved with city government. I want to see what the kids want to do instead of us telling them what we would like," Fairchild said.

At the planning commission workshop at noon on Thursday, Faircild listened as the members of the planning commission discussed their agenda for their monthly meeting the following Tuesday. After the meeting he signed letters and memos at city hall.

Thursday afternoon, Fairchild met with Dallas Schools Supt. Dave Voves and discussed

ways to get more students involved with city government.

He ducked into the Aquatic Center to watch part of the swim meet between Dallas High School and Tualatin. The former coach likes to show his support for the Dallas teams by going to as many sporting events as he can fit into his schedule.

Then Fairchild had dinner with the members of the Dallas Fire Department at their monthly business meeting. He's been a volunteer firefighter for about six years and an EMT for the ambulance service for 20. He's giving up his duties in both departments because his responsibilities as mayor are sometimes in conflict with the drilling schedule of the fire department.

"I'll be part of the support team for the fire and ambulance departments," Fairchild said.

At city hall the next day, he signed about 15 city checks to pay bills. The city charter requires the signature of two of the three designated signers who include the city manager, city council president and mayor.

After signing checks he met with City Manager Roger Jordan to finalize the plans for the farewell reception held Jan. 8 for former Mayor Gwen VanDenBosch and Council President Eldon Bevens. Ken Woods Jr. was elected Tuesday night to serve as council president.

Fairchild ended his first week the way it had begun, focusing on Dallas High School. He headed over to the gym to watch the Dallas High School boys basketball team beat Canby.

His second week was launched with a lunch meeting with Woods and Jordan to discuss the development of a leadership team among the three of them. He attended the farewell reception for Bevens and VanDenBosch Monday evening.

The city planning commission meeting and a high school wrestling match was on the agenda for Tuesday.

Fairchild said he's had a few phone calls since taking office. A few were congratulatory and a few were to set up future meetings. He was asked to speak to the local chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons in February.

"I'm just trying to get my feet on the ground," Fairchild said.

Scanning his electronic datebook, he sees meetings this month with the Parks and Recreation Board, the Mid-Willamette Council of Governments, the mayor's coalition, the Chemeketa Library Board, the City Council and the council standing committees.

Fairchild plans to hold monthly informal coffee get-togethers where he will listen to citizens' concerns. He is talking with local restaurants to set that up.

So that's just the first week in the life of Dallas' new mayor -- and it's a good thing Fairchild's family gave him that organizer for Christmas.


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