Melissa Guns, 43, was recently selected to serve on the Fort Scott City Commissioner, replacing Josh Jones, who moved outside the city limits.
She was sworn in directly after being selected on June 18.
“The duties of the position include working with other council members to make fiscally and ethically sound decisions, closely reviewing and monitoring the budget and expenditures, creating the budget, passing ordinances that will benefit the greatest number of citizens possible, ensuring city policies do not harm vulnerable populations, bringing concerns and needs regarding the day-to-day operations to the attention of the City Manager, listening to citizens’ concerns and viewpoints, passing policies that will help the growth of the city’s economy, working to reduce or minimize the tax burden of citizens whenever possible, and collective oversight of the City Manager,” she said.
Citizens may contact Guns with concerns or comments by emailing [email protected] or calling City Hall and leaving a message with the City Clerk.
Guns graduated from Barnesville High School in 1998, then earned a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science in 2005 and Master of Education in 2012, both through Wilmington University, New Castle, DE
She is currently employed as a Program Evaluator at Greenbush Education Service Center in the Research, Evaluation and Grants Department.
“In my current role, I have written three grants for 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) all of which were funded for $500,000 each over five years.”
She evaluates and writes grants. These grants provided funding for improving literacy by providing training for teachers, access to books, etc.
Guns is part of the Kansas Prevention Collaborative (KPC) evaluating for the Kansas Prevention Collaborative and other coalitions who have received prevention grants from the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS).
She also evaluates the Kansas Prevention Collaborative trainings, events, and workforce.
“I also build surveys and other evaluation tools, most recently supporting the State Opioid Response, Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers, Community Mental Health Centers, Assisted Outpatient Treatment, and the KS Heart Program, and has also written smaller grants outside of Greenbush.
Prior to moving to Kansas in 2016, she was an administrative assistant for Bradco Services, a small construction company, putting together bids and familiarizing herself with the International Building Code Standards, learning federal payroll compliance, developing marketing and media to promote the business.
In her youth, she taught Bible classes to younger children, went on mission trips within the U.S. and Honduras, cared for the elderly at an assisted living home, and participated in AmeriCorp/VISTA as a Volunteer Coordinator for a summer reading and nutrition program in Parkersburg, WV.
Guns believes good citizenship is a duty.
She loves the area in Ohio where she grew up and learned first-hand that there is a need to have ” a broad enough industry to provide jobs to people from all walks of life and education levels. I believe that if a town is not moving forward to ensure jobs, housing, infrastructure, and financial stability it will slowly die.”
“I want to ensure Fort Scott retains small town values while expanding enough that no matter what path our children take when they graduate high school, Fort Scott is a thriving desirable community where they will not have to choose between making their own homes in Fort Scott or having to move away in order to have a job in their chosen profession,” she said.
“The choices we make now will determine the future,” she said. “It is imperative that Fort Scott makes sound fiscal decisions, grows economically, and repairs infrastructure in a way that supports future maintenance and expansion, while retaining the City’s rich history. That is the reason I submitted my letter of interest for the open position. I want to help Fort Scott achieve these goals and believe my experience will allow me to examine the decisions that need to be made from multiple perspectives to determine the best course of action.”
“I am working on creating a public Facebook page by which citizens may also contact me,” she said. “Please note that the ability to post on my page will be limited as this is meant to be a method of contact and not a public forum. Any questions, information, or issues that are appropriate for the City Manager to handle will be forwarded to him. I will respond to let you know the issue has been brought to his attention and any actions that are taken as a result. If citizens would like to share their viewpoint on an issue, I am happy to listen. I will not and cannot comment regarding personnel issues or instruct city personnel, as the only city employee under the direct purview of the committee is the City Manager.”
“Issues or concerns regarding employees other than the City Manager should be directed to Brad Matkin,” she said. “I will however, listen to and confer appreciation and accolades for city staff. ”
Doug and Melissa have five children. Doug Jr. lives in Virginia. Their son Zander and daughter Emma attend Fort Scott High School, son John attends FSMS, and youngest son Lincoln attends Winfield Scott Elementary School.