Taking the reins of the mayor#8217;s office

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 14, 2007

t’s always a transition going from one job to another. It’s even tougher when you are the newly elected mayor of a city.

Rich Blankenship is going through that now. He was voted in as mayor of Ironton on Nov. 6 and sworn in on Dec. 1.

Now with a week under his belt as mayor, Blankenship said he knew some of what he was getting in to but says he is still learning a lot.

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“There is a lot I’m going to have to study and learn,” he said. “It’s been exciting so far, fast paced. My schedule fills up quickly. It’s a full day’s job, that is for sure.”

He said he has been meeting with department heads and trying to meet all the city employees.

“Basically, I want to say to them give me a chance. We want to keep the city moving forward and I am committed to that,” he said.

Blankenship spent years for the Lawrence County children services as an investigator and he said it is kind of odd to go from being an employee to be a boss.

“It is hard to get used to, really,” he said. That and his new title still seems unusual when he opens official mail.

“That’s been the biggest thing, people calling me mayor,” he said. “It is a term I’m not used to yet. People can just call me Rich Blankenship.”

Blankenship spent two years on the council before being elected to mayor. He said it is a lot different when you switch jobs.

“On council, you don’t see the whole picture, it seems to me,” he said. “As mayor there is a lot of responsibility. On council, you see things on paper and when you are mayor, you see it face to face. So it’s been a really different view for me.”

Blankenship said he hopes to maintain the good working relationship the council had with former mayor John Elam.

“I am going to strive to do that and I hope the council members feel the same way,” he said. “It’s important we work together and I feel this is a good council. We’re all in this boat together, we work for the city. We all want to see this city improve and grow.”

Blankenship said he would like to see the community to get involved. He is working towards improving the city parks by getting new equipment into the parks and looking for grant money including funds for a skate park.

“There are several projects in the works,” he said. “I would like to see us all come together and move forward. I think Ironton is on the upswing and I’d like to keep it going.”

Looking towards the next four years, Blankenship said it was hard to see what is coming but he will continue to work hard.

“I really want to do a good job for the city,” he said