Angela Pearson: Good Things Are Happening Every Day in PB
There is no way Angela Pearson could have known how her life was going to change with one simple act: running for a seat on the Poplar Bluff City Council. She never imagined that in a relatively brief amount of time, she would be sitting in the Mayor’s Office, in the Mayor’s Seat.
She looks back on this past year and admits that it has been a lot like a roller-coaster ride – at times thrilling, and at times downright scary. But she is happy with the overall results.
She’s been interviewed by out of town news media. She’s gotten hate mail. She’s gotten love mail. There is no crown for this office. As matter of fact, there really isn’t any pay, only $1 per year. But she doesn’t do it for the money; she does it because she believes in the power of change.
If you ask her What’s the best thing about being mayor? She doesn’t even hesitate. “The thing I like best about it is that I feel like I am making a difference for the city,” she says confidently. “Overall, I’d say being mayor is a cool experience.”
But it hasn’t all been fun. She still remembers the day she came home, went to her mailbox, and received her first hate letter. She admits those kinds of things aren’t pleasant, but she keeps it all in perspective. “There are days that can be fun, but mostly it’s a serious business,” she says. “There is a lot at stake and plenty to be taken care of.”
City business isn’t all she has to take care of: She has a family, with two children, ages 7 and 3. What do they think of their mom, the mayor? “They really don’t understand the significance of it,” she explained. “They know I’m on the city council. They’ve seen me on TV several times, and they watch the meetings online. They think that is pretty neat.”
She does her best to keep the stress from the job out of her home, but admits that is an impossibility. “I expected it would be hard,” she explained. “Because I can’t do something at less than 100 percent.
But the days of controversy and hate mail are more than balanced by the good she feels she and the council are doing. “Sure, I’ve gotten a little hate mail. But I’ve gotten a lot more letters of support….and hugs! There are a lot of people who seem very appreciative of what we are doing.”
Pearson realizes she is not doing this job alone. “Being mayor is really a figure head position. A mayor can’t do much without the help of the City Council. My only advantage over any other members is that I get to set the agenda for the meetings,” she explained. Otherwise, she adds, it is totally a team effort.
What is the hardest part of the job? “The fact that I cannot make everyone happy,” she answered.
But even in a relatively short period of time, she feels that the City Council has done some important things. Among them was getting the council meetings on video and having them available to the public online. She notes that even people who were not in favor of her as mayor seem to be using the online meetings.
Another very important piece of business has been to search and obtain a new city manager for Poplar Bluff. “Finding a new, very well-qualified city manager is very important for this city’s future, “ she concluded. “I’m thrilled with our selection of Heath Kaplan as City Manager. The selection committee did a wonderful job of narrowing the list down to a few qualified candidates and Mr. Kaplan quickly rose to the top of that list. I look forward to working with him during my tenure on city council.”
Despite the long road and many problems along the way to get to this point, she feels the future for Poplar Bluff is very bright. “I see good things happening every day!” she said. “And that makes me very happy.”