Laura Barlond-Maas has been connected to Olivet for many years. She attended Olivet College, raised a family in Olivet, returned to Olivet College as an English professor, and was mayor 2001-2005. After 12 years, Laura is returning to the Olivet City Council chamber as mayor.
Laura decided it was time to step back onto city council when Gary Peterson, the mayor of the last 12 years, said he was stepping down.
“Being mayor is a lot of work,” said Laura. “We need to know what our goals are.”
After being sworn in the evening of Monday, Nov. 13, Laura has a few things she wants to start working on right away. Goal setting is among her top priorities. A comprehensive plan for Olivet is a step in the right direction, according to Laura. Knowing how the city can accomplish a few things on the wish list with a tight budget, and how the council can create more town unity over what Olivet already has to offer as well as what it could have in the future.
“We need to find out what our values are in a small town. I want to make sure it’s not just my answer, it’s about all of us,” said Laura.
Communication is another topic on the new mayor’s mind.
“Communication is super important. I would like to figure out a way to communicate with a wider variety of people,” said Laura. “I really want to listen to people and hear what they have to think.”
Communicating with residents in Olivet will go beyond informing them of what the city is doing, but getting input on issues important to them and including them in the brainstorming and goal setting.
Laura wants to use community assets like the active Chamber of Commerce and Olivet College to Olivet’s advantage. In her hometown she sees so much untappeded potential. She’s always been drawn to the small town environment of Olivet and she wants others to see how friendly Olivet is.
“I just really love the people,” said Laura. “I think the friendliness matters.”