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Byrnes seeks to continue as mayor

August 14, 2012
By Per Peterson , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - When Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes was promoted to director of field operations for the University of Minnesota Extension, speculation grew about how the move would affect his future plans locally.

Those plans are more clear now, as Byrnes on Tuesday said he will file for re-election to add to his 20 years of service as Marshall's mayor.

"I decided to run again because there are still things I want to be involved in in the community, some really exciting development," Byrnes said Tuesday.

Byrnes was first elected mayor in 1992 after serving six years on the Marshall City Council. Last summer, when he took the new position with the U of M, he told the Independent that while he wasn't sure he would seek another term as mayor, he had no intention of moving from Marshall. Still, until he knew for sure if he would be able to split time between jobs, he wouldn't commit to another term as mayor.

"I considered things very carefully; as my position has changed, I've kind of settled into it and I am able to work out a good balance between my work and public service," he said. "There were some unknowns as far as how I would be able to balance it out."

Byrnes has been with the Extension for about 33 years. His new position with the U of M went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year. As director of field operations, Byrnes oversees operations in regional offices of the Extension, as well as staff in offices around Minnesota. Because he has statewide responsibilities, his new position requires him to be on the road more often, but since taking over, he has learned that he can fulfill all his obligations.

Byrnes said since his appointment he has taken advantage of distance technology to help him cover all the ground necessary and allow him to continue to serve as mayor, despite dealing with a different kind of time commitment his new post with the U of M presents.

"Even when I'm travelling I'm able to stay connected to the city through technology," he said. "The other part of it is time management. We all have the same amount of time, and it's really how we allocate that time and put the emphasis on where it needs to be placed."

Byrnes said the city of Marshall was able to hold its own through the recession and continues to grow and develop. Part of that growth, or at least potential growth, rests in the hands of Marshall voters, who will in November vote on a local sales tax that will go toward the proposed $12.9 million regional amateur sports facility and MERIT Center expansion.

"As I've told a number of people, I can't think of any good reason not to vote for that kind of economic development," he said. "That's why I'm such a strong proponent of both of these projects."



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