BANGOR, Maine — For just over an hour Monday night, 10-year-old Kira Yardley was among the most powerful people in the city of Bangor.
With her parents, Rita and Shawn Yardley, and sisters watching from the audience, Kira took the gavel, called the meeting to order and became Bangor’s mayor — for the day at least.
“This is a regularly scheduled meeting of the Bangor City Council,” she began, her voice a little shaky with nerves.
First, Kira led the councilors, and those in attendance at City Hall, in the Pledge of Allegiance, which always kicks off council meetings in Bangor. She then stood next to City Council Chairman Gerry Palmer as councilors and city staff got down to official business.
The fourth-grader won the rights to be mayor for a day at a recent auction at her school, All Saints Catholic. Wearing her dark blue school uniform, Kira fidgeted at times, nodded knowingly at others but smiled and listened intently through it all.
Palmer included Kira in the process as much as possible.
After directing the city clerk to read the consent agenda, a list of routine items that is not typically discussed, Kira asked assertively for a motion and second. Councilors obliged.
“We have a motion and a second,” she said after a whisper in the ear from Palmer. “Seeing no discussion, this will have approval.”
Toward the end of the meeting, Kira even got to grill her dad a little bit. Shawn Yardley, Bangor’s public health director, appeared before the council on an item that would make minor changes to Bangor’s general assistance allowance for food. Shortly before indicating approval, Kira had a question.
“Dad, do you think this is good for the city of Bangor?” she asked.
“I do think this is good,” he replied. “Especially for those in the city who need it most.”
As the meeting wound down, councilors took time to praise Kira for her professionalism and promptness.
“You certainly raised the bar,” Councilor Richard Stone said, eliciting laughs. “And, you got us out of here by 8:30 [p.m.], which is always good.”
Palmer encouraged Kira to come back and run for office someday.
“Clearly, you’re ahead of me already,” he joked.