History was made again in Mexico on Monday night when Ayanna Shivers was re-elected as Mexico’s mayor and Vicki Briggs was nominated to the position of Chariperson Pro Tem.

This is the first time the top two civic leaders are women in the city’s history, City Attorney Lou Leonatti said at the conclusion of the nomination process. Both were nominated without opposition. Shivers first was nominated as mayor in 2019, where she was the first black woman to serve in that position.

“Thank you all for electing me again. I appreciate it,” Shivers said to the council.

The mayor and chair pro tem are nominated and voted on by the council. Whoever is selected will serve a one-year term. There is a two-year consecutive term limit on the positions. This is Shivers’ second year as mayor and Briggs’ first as chair.

Prior to the selection of the mayor and the chair, though, was the certification of election results and the swearing-in ceremony for Shivers to her second term to the council and Steve Haag’s first. Shivers won her re-election campaign, while Haag now fills the seat vacated by council member Steve Nichols who announced his retirement from the council earlier this year. Mexico voters approved a local use tax question, which will help support construction costs for Fairground Pool upgrades.

All the council members thanked Nichols for his 15 years of service to the city.

"I want to thank the citizens of Mexico for letting me serve for 15 years on the council. It is a great honor to do that,“ Nichols said. ”I have worked with four city managers, two city clerks, countless council members. The one thing they had in common was their beliefs were different and they argued and sometimes they agreed and sometimes they did not agree. The one thing that remained constant was they love Mexico.“

Council member reacts to recent protests

Mexico residents held a separate vigil and protest June 3 related to the death George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Council member Chris Williams read a statement Monday addressing the movement and its calls for change to policing policy.

Williams is related to to an officer who died in the line of duty, he said. He was appalled and disturbed by what happened to Floyd on Memorial Day.

“I can completely empathize and understand that after seeing it, it can make people feel disillusioned with the current system,” he said. “Statements [made by] politicians and other elected community leaders are dangerous and irresponsible when it comes to things like defunding entire police departments.”

Police departments and cities have to work within their means to make departments better, he said.

“I am always open to listening to new ideas and policies that can benefit the entire community and continue to keep our citizens safe,” Williams said. “The vast majority of [our officers] are good people who are assets to their community.”

Williams hopes for rhetoric to change surrounding policing and that ideas with tangible solutions are put forth, which includes input from officers.

Shivers echoed some of Williams sentiments.

“I’m grateful for our police department that we have here and the sheriff department in the area and that they were working alongside [protest and vigil organizers],” she said.

Shivers is pleased there is a wide range of people in Mexico speaking up for injustice.

“Like you said, you shouldn’t let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch,” she said speaking to Williams. “We can’t also let the injustices continue to go unpunished.”

East Central Drug Task Force Membership; Freedom of the Road Riders

The city will continue its relationship with the East Central Missouri Drug Task Force after a resolution was approved by the council. Six Mexico Public Safety Department Officers serve on the task force, Chief Susan Rockett said.

Freedom of the Road Riders requested $1,630 from the Mexico Tourism Tax to advertise the 2020 Veterans Cruise on July 18. They were approved for $630 in funding from a recommendation from the Mexico Tourism Commission.

In other business:

The city council accepted a bid of $19,410.46 for a 24x52-foot open storage shed for use by the streets department from Ultimate Steel Buildings and Applebee Construction of Mexico. The 2019-20 budget allows up to $15,000 for the shed and department savings from other line-item purchases allowed the department to make up the difference. Other city departments will use portions of the shed to help protect equipment from the elements.

The June 22 council meeting will start 6 p.m. with a work session looking at golf-car use on city streets and the final plans for Fairground Pool construction so the project can move forward.