COUNCIL BLUFFS — Former Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan has been hired as interim president and chief executive officer of the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce.
Hanafan will begin his chamber duties July 1.
The chamber’s board of directors announced the hiring on Monday.
Hanafan served as mayor of Council Bluffs for 25 years, after which he served as a member of the Pottawattamie County Board.
He will serve as the interim CEO while the chamber seeks to permanently replace the position most recently held by Dan Koenig.
Last week, Koenig announced that he intended to pursue other opportunities.
Hanafan has been recognized by countless community organizations and continues to be active in Council Bluffs in his retirement.
“The Chamber of Commerce is at a pivotal transition period, and the board wanted to find an interim leader who could provide some stability to our organization and continue to serve and support the business community of Council Bluffs; Tom Hanafan was an easy choice to fill that leadership role,” said Don Kohler, vice president of marketing and public relations at Iowa Western Community College and chairman of the chamber board.
Hanafan, a lifelong Council Bluffs resident, said he looks forward to serving the community again in his interim role at the chamber.
“Clearly, the Chamber of Commerce has always played a key role in the development of our great city,” he said. “I am going to work hard to help the chamber board and its membership during this transition.”
Hanafan said he signed a contract to serve as interim CEO through the first of the year, “but I’m not interested in the position on a full-time basis.”
Sign up for World-Herald news alerts
Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.
1 of 6
Jesse Lowe, a North Carolina native, was elected Omaha's first mayor in 1857. According to accounts published in The World-Herald, Lowe, who first arrived in Council Bluffs, stood one day on the Iowa side of the Missouri River and thought the other side would be a good place to build a city.
Champion S. Chase served three separate stints as mayor, but was unanimously impeached by the City Council in 1884 for, according to the Douglas County Historical Society, "drunkenness, incompetence by reason of drunkenness, derangement of the nervous system and neglect of duty." He later sued the city for back salary, saying he was unfairly removed.
James E. Boyd, mayor from 1881-1883 and 1885-1887, was the first Democrat elected governor of Nebraska in 1891. According to World-Herald archives, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Boyd, who immigrated from Ireland at 10, was not eligible to serve as governor, given his Irish citizenship; Boyd's father did not take the oath of citizenship until James was 56. The U.S. Supreme Court overruled the state high court's ruling.
Richard C. Cushing, elected mayor in December 1889, was nominated by the Democratic Party without his knowledge, according to "Omaha memories," a book by Edward Francis Morearty. Douglas County Historical Society archives say Cushing, a member of the state Legislature, was out of town during the election and updated by telegram.
Elected to seven terms as mayor, James C. Dahlman (1906-1918, 1921-1930) sent President William Howard Taft a letter prior to his visit to Omaha in September 1909, according to the Nebraska State Historical Society, in which he promised to disclose weight-loss strategies with the president, then over 300 pounds, if Taft offer weight-gaining strategies in return. The letter was shared with the Omaha Daily News.
James Dworak (1961-1965), Johnny Rosenblatt's successor, was indicted by a grand jury on bribery charges along with four others. The World-Herald reported on a taped conversation in which Dworak asks for $25,000 in campaign cash in exchange for approval of a rezoning application, according to archival reports. Dworak was acquitted, but lost his 1965 re-election bid.