By Jerry LaMartina
Bill Nicks and Corey Hunt were sworn in this week as the Lenexa City Council’s newest members on the same evening the council was given a presentation on the results of a recent citizen survey showing Lenexa residents are very happy with their city.
Nicks represents Ward 2, having defeated incumbent Stacy Knipp on Nov. 7. Hunt represents Ward 3; he defeated incumbent Lou Serrone.
Ward 1 Councilman Joe Karlin and Ward 4 Councilwoman Mandy Stuke were re-elected and also sworn in this week.
Nicks said his top priorities as a new councilman are efficiently continuing the city’s development and keeping city services “top notch,” especially those of the police and fire departments.
“I think we need to make sure that we continue developing Lenexa in the orderly fashion that we always have,” he said. “I think this is high on all the council members’ lists, and the mayor’s list.”
The recent citizen survey showed that Lenexa rated 29 percent above the Kansas City metropolitan area and 36 percent above the national average for the overall quality of services. Since the first survey in 2005, the city’s satisfaction ratings have increased or stayed the same in 53 of 68 categories that have been assessed at points.
“It’s real nice to show and important to show how we rank compared to the metro area and to the whole country, but the more telling statistic is how … we rank with ourselves two years ago and four years ago, and we’re getting better,” Nicks said.
Nicks was Lenexa’s first Parks and Recreation director. He held the job for 29 years and retired in 2008. He decided to run for the council “because I thought I had something to offer in making sure Lenexa stayed a great city.”
“I spent an awful lot of time listening to Lenexa’s residents when I was Parks and Rec director,” he said. “They want the parks to fit into their neighborhood and region. You hear about lights, noise, traffic, landscaping (and) what activities are going to happen in the park. All of that was talked about in public meetings and on people’s decks and backyards. I thought that experience would help Lenexa in moving forward.”
Nicks is 67. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and raised in Shawnee “starting four days after birth.” He and his wife, Marci, have lived in Lenexa for more than 30 years. They have three children and seven grandchildren, all of whom live in the area.
He is the Grinter Place site administrator for the Kansas Historical Society. He performs four first-person historical reenactments and conducts historical bus tours to Abilene and Lawrence, and around Kansas City, through his company, HistoryKC.com.
He is a U.S. Army veteran and was stationed in Nuremberg, Germany, for more than two years of his three-year stint. He has a bachelor’s degree from Washburn University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Kansas.
In October, the Shawnee Mission Post asked Lenexa’s council candidates to respond to questions about the future of City Center; balancing redevelopment with existing neighborhoods; use of public finance incentives; and the biggest challenge facing the city. Nicks responded to the questions. Hunt didn’t.
Hunt could not be reached for comment about his priorities as a councilman for this story. However, on his campaign website he said that because of the “current political climates of both the United States Congress and the Kansas legislature, there is a tremendous need for a clean running city government. … Our city of Lenexa needs leadership willing to keep innovating whilst providing effective services to the residents such as you and me. … Our current rubber-stamp City Council has a long history of raising your taxes, and yet, without the proper transparency, normal residents of the city have no clue. A fight to stop raising your taxes needs to be fought.”
Hunt served in the U.S. Navy for 23 years and retired as a senior chief. He is a combat veteran, having served in Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Iraqi Freedom-Philippines. He graduated from seven Navy schools and is a certified U.S. Navy Master Training Specialist.
He and his wife, Amy, grew up in the area and graduated from Shawnee Mission Northwest. They have an adult son.
Hunt received a master’s degree in operations management from the University of Arkansas, a master’s in instructional design and technology from Emporia State University and a bachelor’s management from Park University. He is a workforce systems analysts for DST Systems.