Former Mayor Bob Stephens Finds New Role: Bellman

Schlepping luggage and making airport runs

Former Springfield Mayor Bob Stephens had a hard time adjusting to the slowed pace of retirement when he passed the gavel in April. 

Stephens said he went from going "24/7, 150 miles an hour" to "nothing."

"I kind of floundered. I couldn't tell the difference in Tuesday and Sunday. I never knew what day it was," Stephens said.

Then a job opened up across the street from his condo at the University Plaza Hotel.

It was perfect for him: bellman.

"No kidding," he said, smiling. "I get to take people to the airport. I get to suggest places for lunch or dinner, schlep a little luggage and just generally solve problems. Which is what I did as mayor, but now they are at a totally different level."

His new gig is just two days a week - Mondays and Fridays.

"That bookends my week. And Sunday night, I gripe like everybody else that i have to go back to work on Monday."

Stephens said he particularly enjoys meeting new people who are in town for vacation or business.

"Through the week I'm the house spouse," he said. "I do the grocery shopping and runs to Target and Walmart, to the dry cleaners, that type of thing."

Asked what he misses the least about being mayor, Stephens replied zoning. 

"I turned on the television one night for council meeting, just to take a look at what was going on," he said. "They were arguing about stormwater and a zoning request. And I'm like, 'Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.' So I turned over to the football game."

He said that was the last time he tried to watch a council meeting. 

However, Stephens said he does miss the people he used to work with at City Hall and the various departments. 

"You can't work that closely with people like Greg (Burris), Anita Cotter and Cora Scott and that group, day in and day out, through every crisis that came along without developing a strong relationship," he said. 

Stephens said he is often asked what his worst day as mayor.

There were two, he answers: the day Hailey Owens was kidnapped and murdered and the day Springfield police officer Aaron Pearson was shot in the face.

Asked about his best day, Stephens smiled.

"There are so many."

 

(story shared by the Springfield News-Leader.  Read the original article here )


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