By DARIN CHAPPELL Chillicothe City Administrator
Darin Chappell began as Chillicothe City Administrator in August. He is writing an introductory column
today in place of Mayor Chuck Haney's regular monthly column.
As I close in on my first month here with the City of Chillicothe, I am
struck by how busy I have been and how varied the items are which have crossed my calendar! Everything from the phenomenal Eclipse, to the
rather mundane task of getting my office set in place, has made my time here with the City hectic and exceptional to say the very least.
Of course, most of my time
has been spent in various meetings on sundry subjects pertaining to the City and its
operations. I have met with members of the Leadership Teams from the Hedrick Medical
Center, the Chillicothe R-II School District, Chillicothe Municipal Utilities, the Chamber of
Commerce, Chillicothe Main Street, Chillicothe Correctional Center, the Livingston County
Commissioners, the Livingston County Sheriff's Department, the Grand River Area Family
YMCA, the 911 Board, Parks Board, all of my Department Heads, and most (if not all) of the
staff members of the City. Along the way, I have spoken to several business owners in the
community and heard what they have had to say about the wonderful community I am proud
to now call "home."
Although there is always room
to improve, and opportunities for growth, everywhere I turn, I have heard people talk about how much they love to
live and work in Chillicothe and how proud they are of the work that is accomplished by so many people
working together. That attitude has been seen to bear fruit most recently in the announcement of Chillicothe being
one of the ten national semi-finalist communities for the National Great American Main Street
Award. This is a high honor for the community and is a testament to all of the hard
work and hometown pride that has gone into making the premier, national recognition a very real
possibility. We will know the final results when the national convention is held in
Kansas City in March of 2018.
I have also been fortunate to meet many community leaders in the Chillicothe Rotary Club. I
have been a Rotarian for some time now; and I have counted it a blessing to be associated
with an organization with such lofty goals on an international and local scale. Striving
together with Rotarians around the world, we have made great progress in helping to rid the
world of polio and have taken the fight to other diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS,
Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes. Locally, Rotary has been a promoter of things
"we should think, say, or do," leading in various community projects, and being supportive of others that
help Chillicothe be the very best version of itself possible.
As for happenings at City Hall, we are looking forward to the
City's unveiling and Open House for the LifeFlight Hangar at the airport on Saturday the 23rd, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is
the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people coming together to provide
the best possible services to the citizens of Chillicothe. Fire Chief Darrell Wright has been
instrumental in bringing all of the loose ends together to make this facility everything
that the Community deserves it to be; and I would like to thank him and his
staff for all of the effort put into the project. It has been a team effort, no doubt, but Chief Wright has spent a great
deal of time on this project "after hours," making sure that everything is correct and in place.
In addition, Police Chief Rick Knouse is retiring at the
end of this month after 41 years of service to the City and the citizenry. We know that he is looking forward to
being free from the daily cares of what he has shouldered for all those decades of service, but we simply
cannot replace the institutional memory and experience that such a career holds for the City.
Even so, efforts are well under way to find a new Chief to lead the
department into the future, while carrying on the good traditions of the past.
The City Street Department, under the Leadership of Barry Arthur, is finishing up with the
various projects that have been undertaken this summer to do, and plans have been
underway as to which streets to address in the coming years. Once these plans are ready to
be formalized, they will be brought before the Council for their input and
approval. The Parks Department, headed by Josh Norris, is looking to wrap up another successful season of
summer activities as the weather begins to cool. The Chilli Bay Water Park ended its season
with the Doggy Dip on Labor Day which was well attended in spite of the cooler than normal
temperatures, and proceeds are once again going to the Tina Mapel Memorial Dog Park.
As a point of reference about myself, I believe in good government. I further believe that
good government does not happen by accident, but that bad government happens by
accident all the time. Therefore, it is my determined position that City government ought to
be examined continually to see if we can find "the better way." The better
way to pave a street, to train a firefighter, to encourage a police officer, to look at a
budget... each of these day-to-day activities, when taken as a part of the whole, combine to define how
government actually works. It isn't enough to intend well, we have to do well, and then do
even better. I have every confidence in my department heads, and I can see the good work
that they are doing on a daily basis, just in the short time that I have been at City
Hall. I believe that, as we continue to develop our working relationship, and as the
staff and council grows to know me and management style more completely, that we will be able to do some
great work together for the City of Chillicothe.
I look forward to the opportunities of working with Mayor Haney, Councilman at Large
Dupy, Councilmen Albertson, Cunningham, Douglas, and Howard, City Clerk Frampton, City Auditor
Kelly, and all of the staff, and I look forward to serving this great City!
I have already told you more than I know.
Haney's "Around Our Town" column is available in the Chillicothe
Constitution Tribune newspaper the first week of each month. His
additional columns, "On the Street", are also available in the
Mayor Haney on
Ingram's list of 50 Missourians You Should Know (March