As of recently, newly elected Great Bend City Council members would show up without fanfare at City Hall in January and take their oaths of office in City Clerk Shawna Schafer’s office. That will likely change following revisions of state law.
“The Kansas Legislature made some changes this last session to when new council members take office,” City Administrator Kendal Francis told the council Monday night. These apply to the entire governing body, including the mayor.
“That’s something we need to be thinking about,” he said. Currently, the elected officials take office the second Monday of January, relatively unceremoniously.
“However, they have now opened that window to allow it to be anytime between the first of December and the second Monday in January,” Francis said. “So, we have options if the council desires to change that.” The council meets on the first and third Mondays of each month.
The governing body could maintain the status quo, move the swearing-in ceremonies to either of the meetings in December, or take care of them during the first meeting in January.
“I recommend the first meeting in January,” Councilman Dana Dawson said.
The procedures governing the oath-taking are spelled out in a city’s charter ordinance, Francis said. So, the move would require a change that ordinance.
Since Dawson’s suggestion seemed to the consensus of the council, Francis directed City Attorney Bob Suelter to draft revised guidelines. It will note oaths will be administered during the first meetings in January.
The new ordinance should be ready for council action at its first meeting in September.