GI Mayor's Advisory Council Meets for First Time

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Though Grand Island City leaders have been through recent turmoil, a Mayor's Advisory Council has been in the works for several months.

"Thought it might be a good idea to go ahead and have a group of citizens meet on a timely basis where I can go ahead and hear first-hand their thoughts, views, suggestions," says Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek. "And yet also keep me grounded in such a way that hopefully I know what's important for people."

Vavricek says they'll have monthly meetings at city hall as they see how the discussion format works.

"I think this process is a good one, it's probably the first time - that I know - this has ever been done in Grand Island so we're exploring some new ground," Vavricek says.

Former Grand Island mayor Ken Gnadt is one of 23 advisory council members. He says sharing ideas outside of a council meeting can be a good thing.

"When I was mayor we had what was called the "Kitchen Cabinet" - it was a group of four or five people that I could bounce things off of whenever I wanted to and were always very very helpful," says Gnadt.

Vavricek says he wants to use the discussion to help him make better opinions and recommendations.

He says he asked a cross-section of citizens from various incomes, neighborhoods, and lifestyles to take part.

"I think there's also a number of people who will be outspoken, some have been very supportive over the years, some I haven't even met yet, some that have been critical," says Vavricek.

Gnadt says he thinks having a diverse group is best.

"It's probably the best way to go about it - to have somewhat of a divided group coming together and see if they can educate each other and the mayor, city administrator, and the council - we can hear both sides of it," Gnadt.