In the week after learning he’ll be Wellington’s next mayor, councilman Hans Schneider started making plans to ensure the transition is seamless.
Schneider defeated opponent Patti Young by a narrow margin of 43 votes, according to unofficial Election Night results.
Since then he’s taken the time to meet one-on-one with outbound mayor Barbara O’Keefe, village manager Steve Pyles, and police chief Tim Barfield among others to ask questions and share his ideas for possible changes in the village.
“Everybody has pledged to make this transition seamless, smooth, and hopefully unnoticeable,” Schneider told the Enterprise.
Some of the ideas he hopes to implement are quarterly in-service meetings for village employees, yearly meetings with business owners, a personnel committee, a park committee for the old McCormick Middle School property, and a State of the Village address.
None are huge changes but the mayor-elect said they are important: “We’re going to be consistent in our message. We’re going to be consistent in our approach.”
Improving communication between village officials and the public is also among his top priorities once he takes office.
Additionally, Schneider met with Wellington Schools superintendent Dennis Mock to discuss his commitment to working with educators.
“They’re another piece of the puzzle,” he said. “We don’t want any pieces missing in the village.”
Scheduling the days and times he’ll be available in the mayor’s office is also something Schneider is working to nail down. The job is part-time and for now it looks like he’ll be in the office all day Thursdays. He plans to work a few evening hours a week as well as two weekends a month.
“People are used to being able to go to the Village Market to see the mayor. I’m going to make sure they still have that ability to get ahold of the mayor. I’m available 24/7 by email and by phone,” he said.
Schneider has served on village council for 14 years and believes he has a good understanding of what the village does well and where it needs improvement. “We want to maintain the good things and fix the things we’re a little short on,” he said. “I’m focusing on the positives in our community,” he said.
Becoming mayor has long been a goal. “Part of me since I was in middle school has dreamed about being on council and potentially if I could be mayor one day,” Schneider said. “I look back at that and I’m excited about the next four years. I think we’re going to see a lot of positive momentum going forward for the entire community.”
But the idea of being Wellington’s next mayor hasn’t really sunk in yet.
“Probably when I put my left hand on the Bible and raise my right to take that oath is probably when it’ll set in. My job up until that time is to prepare myself,” Schneider said.
In the meantime, he plans to continue to meet with village officials and network with anyone who represents Wellington.
“It’s going to be an interesting year next year with a new mayor and half the council all replaced,” he said. “I’m confident the new people on council are going to step right in and work hard and I know I’m going to work hard in the mayor’s office.”
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWe_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.