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Mayor Bairos and Mayor Protem Smith Visit with Falcons
mayor and chris smith
City of Oakdale Mayor Cher Bairos, right was joined by Mayor Protem Christopher Smith at Fair Oaks Elementary last week as they took part in a little Q&A with the 6th grade Falcons. - photo by TERESA HAMMOND

Some very fortunate Fair Oaks Falcons were offered a unique opportunity last Friday as Oakdale Mayor Cherilyn Bairos and Mayor Protem Christopher Smith paid a visit to the campus for a little Q&A with some campus sixth graders. 

According to Computer Lab Educator Theresa Gassaway the students were encouraged to pen a letter to an elected official, either the US President or the City Mayor. As a follow up to the assignment the City duo opted to visit the campus and take questions directly from the students. 

The City representatives opened the event by sharing their given roles and what they do within the community and the council. Mayor Bairos went over their individual terms of election as well as the importance of the role of Smith as Mayor Protem. Noting his role in her absence and likening it to the role of a substitute teacher. 

Prior to opening up for questions and following Bairos general housekeeping information, Smith shared some additional information with the Falcons. 

“Everybody like parades? Skateparks?” he questioned. “Well, we have to approve that. We have to approve if a park is going to be built, if a store is going to be opened where it is. We have to approve that as a city council. That’s what a city government does.” 

The Falcon students came prepared with a variety of questions as if they were voters themselves. Questioning the duo on current businesses (i.e.: the vacant K-mart building).

“That’s a great, great question,” Bairos said of the inquiry. Noting the building is owned by someone whom resides in Florida. “We get it all the time. People think it’s our responsibility but unfortunately, it’s not. The day we find out somebody is going in there, boy that will be one of the best days of our lives, that’s for sure.”

Smith simplified it even further for the audience noting that while the city governs many things and decisions it cannot tell a property owner whom to lease their building to. 

“We each have the same voting power and voting authority, I just run the meetings,” Bairos said of her role with City Council. 

When questioned on their jobs before becoming council members, Bairos and Smith shared their respective current careers, noting to the students that their positions on council are not full time, nor does the income cover living expenses. 

“The council pays us just a little tiny bit. It’s not anybody’s main job,” Smith said.

“We make about $300 a month, only,” Bairos added. 

As students continued with questions on items such as road work, laws, vacant land, vacant buildings, and schools were all on the minds of Fair Oaks Falcons. As well as the administrative responsibility of the members and their meeting prep.

When posed with what she enjoys most about being Mayor, Bairos did not miss a beat.

“You guys, the people, the kids, the community, hands down. Look what I get to do. I get to come here and talk to you guys. I get to be a Fair Oaks Falcon for the day.  You guys. The community is the best.”

Following the event Mayor Bairos shared her thoughts on being invited to the school site to speak. 

“It’s awesome. They’re so smart and had really, really great questions,” she said. “It’s just really neat how engaged they are. It’s fun. Christopher and I had a good time.”