I am writing this letter to inform you that I formally tendered my letter of retirement to the Wheeler City Council on Tuesday June 16th. My final day will be July 21, 2020. The City Council will appoint an interim Mayor at its meeting on July 21st.
It has been my honor to serve as the Mayor of Wheeler and I will miss the work. However, my age, health and the chaotic times in which we find our world has reminded me of how tenuous life can be and that there are still other things I want to do. I have always taken my responsibilities as Mayor very seriously and it has been important to me to give my position the time and energy it requires to serve our community well. With that in mind I find that other priorities are taking precedence right now and I don’t feel that I can devote the time it requires and that is why I am stepping down.
I am proud of Wheeler and the things that this community has accomplished over the last couple of decades. We have codified ordinances. We have a reliable and safe drinking water source and distribution system. Our water is exemplary. Wheeler Clean Up Day has become an institution, thank you Terri Michelsen and crew. Our Parks are beautiful thanks to Jan Bell and her committee (they really need volunteers)! We have a Vision, a new Comprehensive plan, and a City Charter that were all voted on by our community and will carry us far into the future. While we still have much to do, I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of the people who have invested their time and hard work to help with all of those endeavors and many more so that Wheeler could become a better City. I also want to thank my community and all of the people who have worked hard to help our city be welcoming, governed by the rule of law, and moving into a great future. Your support has been my strength. To the Parks, Emergency Preparedness, Planning Commission, Budget, Comprehensive Plan, and Vision Committees you are the glue that holds Wheeler together. And I thank you all, past and present, for all of your volunteer hours and passion that you give to our City.
When I first came to the City Council, I was upset by land use decisions that I did not agree with and I applied to be on City Council. In the years since, I have learned that one of the most important things that the City Council does is to protect the rule of law, the rights of property owners, the residents, and the community at large. It is a hard job but when that is the focus all of us gain. We serve to benefit the entire community and not any one position or opinion. So to all of you who have not liked where my leadership has taken us then I challenge you to actually get involved, attend meetings, participate in committees, run for office, and support the City staff whose work creates and maintains our community. Sitting on the sidelines and complaining does not create change, hard work and sincere participation where personal opinions are secondary does.
And finally, I would like to thank every Councilor and staff person that I have ever worked with. You give of yourselves over and over, and are the heart and soul of Wheeler. I wish the City Council good luck and am looking forward to a bright future for my community as we move forward.
Thank you for all the years, lessons, and accomplishments you’ve made for our community and in my life.
Stevie Stephens Burden