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Spotlight on AIM Alumni

Mayor Dennis Leard is Sworn In Featured

Dec 17 2019

While it was never on his bucket list, Dennis Leard has served on the Riceville, Iowa City Council for three years and in January he was sworn is as Mayor. “I am not an idle chit chat person, but as an ex-military, we get involved and look to make a difference,” explains Dennis. From city council meetings to flipping pancakes at a Kiwanis fund raiser, Dennis has a full plate!

As ex-military, we get involved and look to make a difference.

Dennis Leard

Dennis and Christine, who is also a veteran, moved to Riceville after Dennis retired from the firm in 2013. “Riceville is a nice little town of 870 people where my wife grew up,” said Dennis. “Her great grandad, grandfather and uncle were doctors in town. We live in the house they built in 1914.”

Like their home, many of the houses were built a century ago. Therefore, Dennis and the city council find their current challenge is the sewer system. “We have a lagoon system,” said Dennis. “With late 1890s and early 1900s homes, the sewer pipes have been infiltrated by ground water. That is not supposed to happen. It should go into the storm drains. Rather than spend 3-4 million replacing it, we have a four-year plan to ensure all homes have a functioning sump pump and only wastewater gets into the lagoon. The city council will develop a plan and determine how to correct the problem.”

Being a small town, there are extended families, and everyone tends to know one another. As a relative newcomer, Dennis is looking to bring an open communication style to the council and residents.

“As ex-military we don’t walk away from situations we can help fix,” said Dennis. “Martin Soames told me before I retired, you guys in the military are something special. You have a different mental attitude. Most of the guys in my group were former military. They knew when I hired them that if you have a question, ask and if you don’t, get it done. In the ‘90s we were upgrading the computers and Henry Caballero suggested a way to save several man-hours. I am looking to continue to operate like that in Riceville.”

You guys in the military are something different.

Martin Soames

Dennis treads lightly.

“I had a 70-year-old disagree with a proposal and he challenged me to step outside and fight it out.” Keeping his sense of humor and listening to some of the history of the town is part of the job.

“Looking forward, I will be mayor for four years. There is a young guy on the city council who graduated high school in 2007 and I could see him take over after me,” said Dennis.

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