Overland Park residents Derek Puzzuoli and Roger Tarbutton are challenging incumbent Paul Lyons for his Ward 2 seat on the city council, setting up an August primary. Lyons filed for reelection in January.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Puzzuoli moved to Overland Park in March. He served active duty in the Coast Guard for five years and has been working in the transportation industry. He transferred here from Fort Worth, Texas, to work as a rail coordinator for Tiger Cool Express, an Overland Park-based intermodal transportation company.
Puzzuoli said he is seeking his first elected office because he misses public service.
“I know that Overland Park residents might be concerned because I’ve only lived here since March, but I’d like them to know that I’ll bring an energy and a willingness to learn,” he said. “And since I am a new resident, I don’t have any ties here, so I’m doing this purely from my desire to serve the public. There’s no personal gain for me in this at all. Just because I moved here doesn’t mean that I can’t have a positive impact.”
He added that he would use his experiences in the Coast Guard and in logistics and the private sector to begin making “an immediate impact in helping Overland Park continue to prosper,” he said.
If elected, Puzzuoli plans to focus on public safety and the needs of first responders, ensuring that those agencies are “well funded.” He also wants to focus on fostering connections between the schools and the community, and ensure that the schools, parks and community amenities are “adequately funded” and promoted, in order to build better family ties.
Finally, he’d also like to make sure taxes stay low and ensure that small businesses and new development can “continue to thrive” in Overland Park.
Puzzuoli earned a bachelor’s degree in government from the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, in 2011.
A resident of Overland Park for roughly 20 years and an employee of Johnson County’s legal department for the past 30 years, Tarbutton is seeking his first elected office.
“I’m obviously interested in local government, having worked in local government at the county level, and I’d like to put that experience to use on behalf of the city,” he said. He retired from the county legal department last year.
If elected, he would like to see the city create a designated public comment period at each city council meeting.
“The county commissioners have a public comment period like that before each county commission meeting, and I’d like to see the city have something similar to that to provide citizen input,” Tarbutton said.
He would also like to focus on steps to “mitigate the impact of development near residential areas.”
“I just think the city needs to be aware of the impact that large developments can have on adjoining established residential areas in the way of increased traffic, noise, pollution, that type of thing,” he said.
Finally, Tarbutton is also concerned about public finance incentives for private developers; he’d like to ensure that those projects “are going to primarily benefit the citizens rather than provide a private benefit.”
Tarbutton said his three decades of experience working for Johnson County make him an ideal candidate for the seat.
He has a bachelor’s degree from Baker University, a Juris Doctor degree from Washburn University and an LL.M degree in taxation from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Tarbutton lives in Ward 2 with his wife, Ruth Tarbutton. They have one daughter and son-in-law and are celebrating their new grandchild.