The new City of Great Bend governing body members officially took their seats in the City Council chambers at City Hall after taking their oaths during a special council meeting Monday afternoon.
Sworn in were Mayor Joe Andrasek and council members Dan Heath from Ward 1, Jolene Biggs from Ward 2, Cory Urban from Ward 3 and Andrew Scott Erb from Ward 4. City Clerk Shawna Schafer administered the oaths for the changing of the guard with the audience packed full of family members and friends of the new office holders.
“You’ll have to bear with me, I’m sort of new at this,” Andrasek said as he took the gavel for the first time. The first order of business naming the Great Bend Tribune as the official city newspaper.
Next, Biggs was elected as the council president. Also nominated was Brock McPherson.
In addition, a resolution was approved giving Andrasek banking authority as mayor.
According to state statute, local officials elected this past November must take office on Jan. 8, which fell between two regular council meetings. This is why a special meeting was called.
Prior to the swearing in, outgoing governing body members were recognized by Schafer for their years of service. Honored were council members Mike Boys who served for five years (replaced by Heath), Dana Dawson who served 14 years (replaced by Erb) and Allene Owen who served 18 years (replaced by Urban), and Mayor Mike Allison who also served 18 years (replaced by Andrasek).
They were presented with plaques and their official City Hall portraits. Allison was also presented with a ceremonial gavel.
For the departing members, the occasion was bitter sweet, Allison said. “You don’t like to leave. It’s hard to do. ”
But, at least for Allison, he said he was ready to go. “It was time to retire.”
Those leaving also had a lot of good memories. “It’s been fun,” Allison said.
Owen noted that it the council benefited from quality city personnel. “I want to thank all the employees. They are the backbone of this city.”
After the meeting, there was plenty of hand shaking as new and out-going city officials congratulated each other, either for assuming their new posts or their newly found retirement.
The new council and mayor will hold their first regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. next Monday night at City Hall, 1209 Williamns.