A new year, a new mayor and a lot of new appointments
It was a night of new appointments during the first Kasson City Council meeting of the year, and the first meeting for new mayor, Chris McKern.
Most of the meeting held Wednesday evening, Jan. 11, consisted of routine, if perhaps heavily discussed, agenda items, but it was the council’s responsibility to appoint and, in many cases, reappoint many members of boards, agencies, commissions and committees going forth during this new year.
Before the cornucopia of appointments, Mayor McKern announced during a preview to the public forum some policy changes to the public forum.
“I wanted to share with everybody kind of my philosophy on the pubic forum,” he said. “You know I’m a fan of the public forum and to be able to express your opinions and ask your questions. One of the things when it comes to the public forum that I think you’re owed, as a citizen, if you’re willing to get up and ask a question in a rational way, civily, you should get an answer. Going forward, you will get answers. You won’t necessarily get an answer tonight. You will be gotten back to.”
Going forward, an item will be added to the council agenda specifically to publicly respond to questions posed during the previous council meeting, which should produce some fascinating results.
Having opened up the public forum to the equivalent of an online comment thread, the council continued with its agenda, and its appointments.
Leading off the lengthy list of appointments was Melisa Ferris to the water tower committee. And, yes, there is actually a water tower committee, which was news even to the new mayor.
“I have to say, I didn’t know there was a water tower committee until I started digging into what we have,” said McKern. “So, we have a water tower committee.”
Thankfully, Ferris comes to the committee having had previous experience with Kasson’s iconic water tower. As an added bonus, she knew there was a water tower committee.
From there, the council quickly went through its long list of additional appointments, including:
-Sheldon Torkelson was re-appointed and Duane Burton was a new appointment to the planning commission. Council appointees were Coy Borgstrom and Lonnie Zelinske.
-Chris McKern named himself as the council appointee to the library board.
-Julie Olmsted was re-appointed to the economic development authority (EDA). Council appointees were Dan Eggler and Chris McKern.
-Liza Larsen and Janet Sinning were both re-appointed to the park board. Doug Buck was the council appointee.
-In a relieving development, the Dodge County Independent was appointed to be the city’s official newspaper.
Three people were also awarded with plaques in appreciation for their community service, including:
-Steve Dean, for serving 15 years on the planning and zoning commission.
-Chuck Coleman, for serving two terms as a council member.
-Former mayor, Steve Johnson.