Milleson, Buchanan sworn in for new terms

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital
Mark Buchanan, left, and Rodger Milleson, right, take the oath of office to begin new three-year terms on the Pawhuska City Council. Buchanan, the incumbent Ward 3 councilor, won re-election. Milleson, who previously served as at-large councilor, has now been elected Ward 4 councilor.

Rodger Milleson returned to the Pawhuska City Council last week as the Ward 4 councilor. He filled the seat previously held by John Brazee, who did not seek re-election.

Milleson formerly served as the at-large councilor but was defeated in his bid for re-election to that seat.

Milleson and incumbent Ward 3 Councilor Mark Buchanan took their oaths of office May 3 to begin new three-year council terms. The council also voted on officers, with Roger Taylor selected by his peers to continue as mayor. At-large councilor Steve Tolson has been chosen vice-mayor, and Buchanan was selected chaplain.

The five-member council now consists of Taylor, Tolson, Buchanan, Milleson and Ward 2 representative Amber Nash. Tonya Bright is the interim city manager.

Councilors received word May 3 from Joni Nash, executive director of the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce, that she will soon be relinquishing her post. Nash, who is the city’s economic development director (city government contracts with the Chamber for economic development services), said she thought that she would probably remain in her job for the rest of the month.

Joni Nash, at right, shown preparing to serve cake at a Chamber of Commerce event, has been the Chamber's executive director for six years. She announced last week that she will be leaving that post.

“I’m not going anywhere. You all are stuck with me,” Nash said, explaining that she plans to remain in the Pawhuska area. She said that she is not leaving the Chamber with a specific next option in mind. She is weighing options, she indicated..

“I will say that I have had the coolest job ever,” Nash told the council.

She voiced optimism about the likely results of the change in the Chamber executive director position, saying she expected her successor would take the Chamber of Commerce to greater levels of success.

Nash’s announcement comes at a time when Osage County and Pawhuska leaders are hopeful that Martin Scorsese’s filming of a movie in the county will spur tourist interest in the area and lead to an expansion of the tourist economy.

Both political and economic leaders are faced with important challenges, such as making sure that sufficient high-quality commercial lodging is available to accommodate a potential increase in tourist visits.

The swearing-in of Buchanan and Milleson completed the 2021 municipal election cycle. There had actually been three council seats up for determination this year, since Jourdan Foran resigned in late 2020 from the Ward 2 seat. Amber Nash won the election to fill that seat and is serving the remainder of the term that Foran won in 2019, when she narrowly defeated Steve Holcombe.

The Ward 2 council seat will be up for determination again in 2022, as will the Ward 1 seat held by Taylor.