Re-election decision aside, mayor isn’t done yet

It’s an entirely reasonable decision, and a personal one, for Mayor Chuck Barney to opt out of running for another term in his position next year. After all, he has been in public service a long time. It comes with tremendous responsibility in the best case scenario and the past few years have hardly been best case scenario considering the aftermath of the flood, the boom and slowdown and general economic conditions affecting the nation. Mayor Barney has more than earned the right to step aside and to do so with his head held high and the respect and admiration of Minot residents.

That said, even with just months left in his term, the smart money is on the mayor not being done yet. That is, it seems unlikely he will conduct himself as a lame duck. With the clock ticking, it seems likely there are still things he will set his mind to getting done.

Mayor Barney’s commitment to leading the city effort to address opioid abuse is sincere. Oh, he is fully aware of the limitations of city government to strongly impact the challenge. Instead, though, he has expressed a number of ways in which even seemingly minor changes in institutional operations (among other things) can alleviate some of the problem. It is absurd to think that he won’t continue to provide strong leadership on this topic – and Minot will be better positioned when he leaves office than it was just a couple of years ago when it wasn’t something about which many public office holders wanted to discuss.

The mayor also appears resolved to moving the city closer to an end with the challenge of the parking ramps and the stalled development effort. To many in the public, those ramps are symbols of poor vision and planning and to leave the situation moving in the right direction would be a huge accomplishment.

Mayor Barney has aptly managed a major change in the structure of city government over the past two years and there is still work to be done there. He brings experience and institutional knowledge that will benefit the rest of the city council, particularly its newest members, who bring so much hope and optimism with them. He has much to teach, much to share, and he is exactly the kind of public servant who will ably do just that.

So, while his term might be now winding down, it is hardly an end for Mayor Barney’s administration. He has defined himself as a good and honest leader, a gentleman in the classic sense of the word, and as a fundamentally decent man whose love of Minot and its people is unquestionable. He has more to offer; and Minot will be all the better for it. Just as Minot is all the better for his service to date.

All of our futures are a book that unfolds in ways we might not anticipate. Who knows what the future will hold for Mayor Barney. Perhaps he will one day decide to return to public service in a different capacity; perhaps he will find another way to work for the betterment of the community.

Minot Daily News believes Chuck will find plenty of good will supporting whatever decisions he makes in the future. In the meantime, he has his work cut out for him – and there is no chance he shirks his responsibility. Because that is the kind of man, and the kind of public servant, he is. We should all be grateful for that.