Bernard named Mayor of Year
Longtime Lansing leader honored by state association
Lansing Mayor Kenneth Bernard is the Kansas Mayor of the Year for 2007.
Bernard was awarded the honor Friday, May 4, at the annual Kansas Mayors Association's annual conference in Topeka.
"It's thrilling to be chosen," Bernard said in an interview this week. "Not only for me, but I think it's great for the city, too, since you get all of the publicity for the community."
As an award recipient, Bernard joins a group that includes former Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Carol Marinovich, longtime Merriam Mayor Irene French and Bonner Springs Mayor Clausie Smith.
"Mayor Bernard has a tremendous record of service to the people of Lansing and to Leavenworth County and the entire region," Smith said in a news release from the city. "He has been an outstanding representative for the city of Lansing. I know it had to be a thrill for him. It's a very humbling award to win."
Bernard said he has been deeply involved with the Kansas Mayors Association for about 10 years. In 2005, while Bernard served as president of the association, the annual conference was in Lansing.
In fact, Bernard said he wrote the selection criteria for the award when it was first discussed about seven years ago.
Each March, each city across the state can nominate its mayor for the award. A selection committee narrows the field to five candidates, whose names and accomplishments are sent out on a post card to cities across Kansas. The postcards serve as ballots, and mayors in each of the cities vote for their choice.
In 2005, Bernard was named the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year, but he said the Mayor of the Year award was an even-greater honor.
"Because it's from your peers," he said.
Bernard began his service to the city in 1979 as a member of the City Council. He served on the council until 1983, when he was appointed to mayor. He then was elected to mayor and served two terms until 1991. In 1993, he returned as mayor and has served in that capacity since that time.
While mayor, Bernard has overseen unprecedented population growth in the city. He has played instrumental parts in the opening of the Lansing Community Library, the updating of the city's Wastewater Utility Plant and commercial development throughout the city.