Slayton mayor Miron Carney wears many hats
SLAYTON -- According to an old quote attributed to Lucille Ball, if you want something done you should ask a busy person to do it. If not for the age disparity, she could have very well been talking about Slayton Mayor Miron Carney, who is indeed a busy man and sure seems to get a lot done.
He's only been the mayor since January, but had served on the Slayton City Council since 2001, a position he was elected to through a write-in campaign.
"I didn't dislike (the preceding mayors) -- I thought they did a great job," Miron stated. "But when Chuck (Ludolph) decided to step down, I decided to run."
His mayoral duties are just a small part of Miron's civic ties to the city of Slayton. He serves as the city's public safety commissioner, is the Slayton Economic Development Authority (EDA) Housing Authority president, and has a wide variety of positions with the Southwest Minnesota Rural Development Commission (RDC) -- he's vice chair of the board of directors, is on the budget and personnel committee, the development committee and chairs the legislative committee.
"I get to go lobby," Miron laughed. "Mostly at the state level, but we've taken smaller delegations to Washington D.C."
He also chairs the committee for Slayton's Days of 87 celebration, and has "a bunch" of other city commissions that meet infrequently.
"They don't really count," he said with a smile. "Some meet once every few months or once a decade."
He averages two or three meetings a week between all of his responsibilities.
"I eat supper alone a lot," his wife, Cheryl, commented.
Miron also has several jobs, working for both Page 1 Printing as a graphics art technician and helping out over at the Murray County News.
"I really enjoy the people and the new technology at Page 1," he said. "But I miss writing and designing, which explains why sometimes the police log in the News is more humorous than other times."
But that's not all he does. Miron also owns Read It Again Books, a used book store housed in the same building as Cheryl's business, the Slayton Beauty Shop. He owns several rental houses in the area and manages other rental properties for a friend, and is the committee chair for the Slayton's Boy Scout troop.
He's been very active in Boy Scouts for quite a while, he said, having gotten involved when his children, Alex and Meghan, were young.
"I enjoyed it then because it was a way to spend time with my kids," Miron explained. "We formed a Venture Crew, a co-ed scout group, and tried to do joint activities. I enjoy the other leaders -- Paul Horn just makes me happy -- and I've heard I have the same influence on them."
Miron and Cheryl's children have grown and are both in college. Alex goes to school in Brookings, S.D., and Meghan attends school in Duluth, so the Carneys do a bit of travelling to keep up with the kids' activities. With both kids gone from home, Miron's civic commitments have grown.
"When they were home, a lot of my life was spent playing with my kids, helping out at school, things like that," he admitted. "We still do a lot of family stuff."
Raised in the rural Chandler area, Miron attended Chandler-Lake Wilson schools, graduating in 1985. After graduation he travelled a round a bit, spent a year living in the Philippines and ended up in Los Angeles, where he met Cheryl. They moved to Chandler shortly after their oldest, Alex, was born, having decided they didn't want to raise kids in the concrete jungles of LA.
They lived in Iona for several years before buying their home in Slayton in May 1998. Cheryl had opened her beauty shop on Slayton's main street in 1995, but after the book store opened in November 1998, she moved the shop into the same building as the store, which is attached to their home.
Being part of so many committees and boards, along with working several jobs that keep him moving around Slayton at all times of day, has given Miron a unique perspective on the goings-on in the city.
"I witness my town at all times of day, both when it's broad daylight at and times that the only people out are paper delivery people and the garbage truck," he explained. "Strangely enough, there's a huge rush of traffic between 4:30 and 5 a.m. as people hurry to get to the coffee shops."
As public safety commissioner, Miron serves as a liaison between the council and Slayton's police and fire departments. When the new police building was built several years ago, Miron donated a lot of time helping with the project. He installed the computer network in the building and assisted with other tasks.
One safety project he's rather proud of, he said with a chuckle, was working with the police chief to identify traffic hazards from piled snow.
"We went and pulled collision reports, and found two spots on Maple Avenue where there were accidents weekly, sometimes daily, during the winter," Miron explained. "Then we made sure that this year the snow got pushed back out of the sight line. It isn't rocket science. We said, 'Maybe we should just haul the snow away.'"
He encourages others to bring similar ideas to him.
"We can't think of everything," he laughed.
His family stays involved in many of his activities. Alex has taken over the job of parade marshal for the Days of 87 celebration, and they all play music together whenever possible.
"I like music," Miron stated simply. "I still jam out with the kids, and we played a couple of times last summer."
He appears on a variety of stages for a variety of events in and around town, either playing guitar, DJing dances or singing. He once played Judas for a local production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and slipped onstage during the first performance, breaking a bone in his ankle. Rather than ruin the production, he tightened the laces on the work boots he wore for the show and refused to take the boot off until after closing night, much to Cheryl's frustration.
"I think I slipped in Jesus' blood or sweat," he laughed.
Always a classic rock and heavy metal fan, Miron has recently turned his attention to bluegrass music.
"I love it so much because Meghan plays with us," he said. "We're trying to put together a medley of metal and rock played as bluegrass."
Miron spends an hour or two a week at city hall several times a week attending to one duty or another, and admits all the responsibility can be time-consuming.
"But it should be time-consuming if you want to do a good job," he said.
Any free time -- and, yes, he said he does have a bit of free time here and there -- he works on home improvements because "I'm too cheap to hire somebody," and also gardens.
"I've already started my flowers, and my pansies are about 2 inches tall," he said. "I also really like to sew and crochet -- I taught Cheryl how to crochet -- but I really don't have time for it anymore."