WAHOO – Loren Lindahl set aside the gavel last Thursday evening, signifying his four years as Wahoo mayor had been completed.
When he ran for the office four years ago, he said point blank he would only be a one-term mayor. But by no means has Lindahl’s service to Wahoo and his public as a whole been limited to just four years.
Lindahl became involved in city government in 1977, when he was appointed city attorney by then Mayor Jim Fauver. He served in that position until becoming mayor.
He said being city attorney helped to prepare him. Still, there were unknowns and surprises as he moved from being legal counselor to mayor.
As city attorney, he was still an outsider looking in. As mayor, he said he got to know city staff better and there was more interaction.
But, he said that interaction couldn’t take place on a day to day basis because of his job at Bromm, Lindahl, Freeman-Caddy and Lausterer Law Office and other commitments. That was something he realized in advance could happen with any mayor and his goal from day one was to better organize the city’s organization chart.
During his term, he re-structured the library board and parks and recreation board. There were also changes to the position of city administrator and the Board of Public Works.
The intent of these changes was to create a clear line of reporting and authorization for city staff and departments.
“We needed someone there on a day to day basis,” he said.
He said the previous structure didn’t establish that.
“One of my goals was organizing the structure of the city and I hope it is for the best and for the betterment of the city,” Lindahl said.
The final changes to that organizational structure came just this fall. He said he didn’t anticipate that it would take four years to accomplish his goal, but he was glad that it materialized.
Other accomplishments for the city under his tenure were the purchase of buildings to be used for city service centers and the creation of a city rescue department with a full-time employee.
Lindahl said he had thought about the need for a service center for city purposes, but he wasn’t sure how it could happen.
Having the right opportunity come along at the right time was good for the city. He added the service centers are a bridging opportunity for all departments of the city and he hoped more sharing opportunities between the departments could be explored in the future.
During the last four years, the city has also had to deal with the opening of the Wahoo Expressway. Lindahl said the city has prepared well for that, but he still sees a need to plan for more infrastructure in the areas next to the expressway.
“There should be a plan. It does not mean it has to be built, but there should be a plan,” he said.
But, he will leave that plan up to the new city leaders.
“I’ve enjoyed my service, but it’s time for someone else to step up and take a swing,” Lindahl said.
Service to city government was not the only swing that Lindahl has taken either.
Just a year after being appointed city attorney, Lindahl ran for county attorney. He won that post in 1978 and served for four-terms.
He said he also enjoyed his time on the Wahoo Board of Education. He served on that board for 10 years.
Service isn’t a thing of the past for Lindahl, however. He was recently elected to the Saunders County Historical Society Board and continues membership in many other civic and community organizations.