OSAWATOMIE — Community members gathered to congratulate and honor Jeff Walmann and Richard Wetzler during a public reception for the two outgoing city officials before the start of the City Council meeting Thursday, Dec. 9, at Memorial Hall.
Walmann was first elected to the City Council in 2007 and served through 2021. During his tenure Walmann served on numerous projects and committees and most recently served as chairman of the community’s Trail Task Force. In that capacity, Walmann helped guide the efforts to extend the Flint Hills Nature Trail to Osawatomie and establish the eastern terminal trailhead: Walker Station at Mile Zero, located on the southwest end of the Karl E. Cole Sports Complex in Osawatomie.
Wetzler was first appointed city attorney in 2005 and in November announced his intent to retire. City officials said Wetzler was instrumental in many projects and helped the city navigate innumerable legal changes and challenges over the last 16 years. Wetzler also served as the city’s prosecutor during his tenure.
Council member Karen LaDuex presented gifts to Wetzler and Walmann at the conclusion of the reception. LaDuex served as mayor Thursday on behalf of Mark Govea, who was also to be honored that evening but the outgoing city official couldn’t be present because he was attending a League of Kansas Municipalities function.
Govea was first elected to the governing body as a council member in 2011 and then was elected mayor in 2013. He will serve as mayor through the remainder of the year. Govea represented Osawatomie on numerous boards and committees across the state and was voted “Mayor of the Year” at the 2021 Kansas Mayor’s Conference.