Iggy Yuan Is Kirkwood's 5-Minute Mayor

Iggy Yuan (click for larger version)
June 15, 2012
Councilman Iggy Yuan hadn't been Kirkwood's deputy mayor for 60 seconds before he was called upon to sit in the big chair and preside over the city council. Almost as quickly, the mantel of power was gone again: Iggy was Kirkwood's five-minute mayor.

Yuan stepped in when Mayor Art McDonnell had to recuse himself when the council held a hearing on a permit to operate a food store on a property purchased from him, the old McDonnell's Market.

Some might have been surprised at the ease with which Yuan assumed the role of presiding over the council, flawlessly guiding the meeting through the procedural twists associated with an official public hearing. No one acquainted with Yuan was surprised at the ease with which he dropped the role of mayor after his few minutes in the chair, joking that "there was a Yuan dynasty in China. It lasted about 100 years."

Yuan summed up with his customary economy of words: "No big deal."

He learned Roberts Rules of Order during his days as dorm president at Marquette University in Chicago, Yuan said. "I used to be my college dormitory president or whatever, so I had it in my blood." He took his role seriously, while it lasted, because "I believe in serving the city and giving back. I will help out where I can."

Yuan, as the senior member of the council, was a natural choice for the role of Deputy Mayor. Other council members will succeed to the job, if need be, in their order of seniority.

There is a serious side to the Deputy Mayor's role, as was demonstrated Feb. 7, 2008, when the late Mayor Mike Swoboda was mortally wounded in the council chambers. Tim Griffin, deputy mayor at the time, stepped decisively into the role of mayor and is credited with providing critically important leadership in the first hours after the catastrophe.

"It's good to have a back-up," McDonnell said. "Everybody said Iggy did a good job."

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