Bayless reflects on eight years as mayor

By Scott Halasz -

XENIA — When she was considering a run for Xenia mayor, Marsha Bayless was told it was a part-time job.

A few meetings, some public appearances.

Easy peasy, right?

“It didn’t take long to realize there is no part-time job if you’re a full-time person,” Bayless said. “It can be non-stop.”

But it finally has stopped for Bayless, who attended almost everything humanly possible.

After nearly 200 council meetings, myriad special and executive sessions, regional mayors’ and managers’ meetings, a monthly meeting with the mayors of Beavercreek, Fairborn and Riverside, regular board of zoning appeals meetings, and a plethora of ribbon cuttings and other public appearances, her time as Xenia mayor came to an end at the beginning of the year when Bayless opted to not seek re-election after eight years.

“I’ve probably had more meetings in the eight years than I did in my education career of 35 (years),” Bayless said.

But don’t think she is complaining. That word is not in her vocabulary.

“I enjoyed the eight years,” she said. “(But) you really know when it’s time. It was kind of on my mind last year before it was time to take out a petition.”

After praying about it and receiving “confirmation” that she was making the right decision, Bayless did not return the petition to seek re-election. So the Thursday, Jan. 11 council meeting will be the first without hearing “Mayor Bayless” being called during the roll.

“I don’t think it’s actually hit me yet that I wasn’t having to read (the agenda packet) and won’t have to go into a meeting,” Bayless said.

But her dance card is already starting to fill up.

“I had a couple (people) ask me if I had a day open when they could meet with me to do some church business,” Bayless said. With Thursday open, she set aside some time in the evening that wouldn’t have otherwise been available.

“You are actually able to make a little time to do the things you like to do,” Bayless said. “I see myself spending a little more time with family. A little more time at home (with former first dog Bruno). A little more time at church and a little more time in the community.”

As she looks back on her eight years, Bayless likes what she sees in Xenia, including the new hotel nearing completion, the REACH center slowly coming to fruition, and Industrial Park, which has brought many new businesses to town.

“I think the city has really changed a lot,” she said. “It has grown quite a bit. As change happens, everybody builds on what was already there. I look forward to the continued growth that I know will happen.”

Bayless is most proud of being able to represent the Col. Young Buffalo Soldiers Home in Washington, D.C., when it became a national monument. She also loved being asked to read a proclamation at a 90th or 100th birthday party, judging a high school science fair, reading at the Xenia Preschool and speaking at the elementary and middle schools.

“I like that I could touch all age groups,” Bayless said.

And of course, there are aspects of city leadership she won’t care to think about anymore.

“I don’t think I’ll miss the meetings so much as the interaction with the people you come in contact with,” Bayless said. “I won’t miss the long meetings and controversial issues. Differences are really good as long as they are in a respectful manner.”

Sarah Mays is expected to be sworn in during Thursday’s meeting and Bayless has offered advice.

“Do you,” she said. “Make your own place and your own pace.”

For Bayless, it was a pace that never seemed to stop … for eight years.

By Scott Halasz

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.