After serving three years in his position, Gene Autry Mayor Kyle Lawson will not campaign in a special election Dec. 5 to appoint new town trustees.
Lawson said he, District Attorney Craig Ladd and the Oklahoma Municipal League have collaborated on deciding on an appropriate way to proceed in the midst of a confusing political atmosphere. Lawson is the last remaining town trustee after the council disbanded in the wake of a disagreement on the legality of $400 he received as a monthly mayoral salary.
He has said his salary was included in the 2017-18 budget passed by all former town council members, and while the budget does reflect a $400 mayoral salary, that expenditure and others were not included in the budget sent to the state by the town clerk, The Ardmoreite reported in September.
Lawson has committed to serve as a community advocate and voice for Gene Autry despite opting out of running in the town’s special election.
“I will always be there as resource for them, and I want to help them in any way I can to ensure the town is successful and stimulates growth and development,” Lawson said. “More than the work we do, it’s the relationships we build while doing it. That’s pretty much the most important thing.”
Lawson said statutes and water and sewage should be top priorities for whomever replaces him as Gene Autry mayor. He said a lot of time and effort was focused on repairing the image of the town after past challenges from previous administrations.
Although Gene Autry has made great strides in restoring community morale, Lawson said he thinks the town can continue to come together in order to further improve its livelihood.
“We have restored viability and visibility before anybody knew who we are,” Lawson said. “The museum is up and operating, we have instilled community pride and more.”
As of Monday, Lawson said there are 97 registered voters in Gene Autry. Those who wish to file for candidacy must be registered and live in town limits.