Lawrence Common Council elects new officers for 2024


The Lawrence Common Council’s first meeting of 2024 on Jan. 8 began with the election of a new council president and vice president. In back-to-back unanimous votes, the council chose Betty Robinson (D-at-large) as the council president and Sherron Freeman (D-District 3) as vice president.

Sherron Freeman

“Thank you, councilors, for this honor to sit here as the president,” Robinson said. “And thank you, City of Lawrence for nominating me as a councilor at-large. I will do my best. This is a new position for me sitting here as president. I am nervous.”

Robinson takes the place of Tyrrell Giles (D-District 1), who led the council in 2023. Rick Wells (D-District 2) was the former vice president.

The council also heard a presentation from Frost Brown Todd law firm as part of the council’s search for new legal representation. Carrie Doehrmann, a partner in the firm, said that Frost Brown Todd has experience in representing municipalities as well as other legal matters, such as environmental law.


“I wish I could promise that as a board or commission you all will never have to deal with the (Environmental Protection Agency) or the Department of Environmental Management or (Department of Natural Resources), but we all know that that’s not reality — you very likely will at some point,” Doehrmann said. “I’ve listed as as much as possible of our core practice areas and service areas to give you a sense of what you could expect in terms of your representation from Frost Brown Todd. I like to think that we’re sort of the best of both worlds — you get kind of a specialized knowledge along with sort of really solid day-to-day operational support from our office.”

The council’s previous attorney was Kristina Wheeler of Bose McKinney & Evans.

Also Jan. 8, the council heard from LeAndre Level, deputy chief of staff for new Mayor Deb Whitfield. He reported that Whitfield has made permanent appointments for most positions in her administration.

“This roster reflects a blend of fresh perspective and a handful of new recruits to the Lawrence city government along with some institutional knowledge and individuals who decided to stay and retain their institutional knowledge here in the administration,” he said, noting that Zachary Brown is the new chief of staff and Amber Finley is the new city attorney.

Among the key administrators remaining are Lawrence Police Department Chief Curtis Bigsbee, Parks Director Eric Martin and Streets Director Jim Heneghan.

The next Lawrence Common Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at Lawrence Government Center, 9001 E. 59th St.