New faces and new voices filled Bethel City Hall Tuesday night, as the newly elected council members took their oaths of office. Haley Hanson, Alyssa Gustafson-Leary, Mark Springer, and Cecelia "Cece" Franko replaced outgoing council members Mitchell Forbes, Raymond "Thor" Williams, Leif Albertson, and Fritz Charles.
The updated council immediately got down to business, deciding how to replace Carole Jung-Jordan, who resigned a few weeks ago. Springer moved to accept letters of interest for the position. He gave it a one week deadline of Oct. 15. There was no discussion. Council members accepted the motion unanimously.
The last time a council member resigned close to the election, council chose to give the seat to the next highest vote earner. In this case, that would have been Raymond “Thor” Williams. After the vote, Springer explained why he chose to open up the seat to applicants instead.
“He ran and he lost,” Springer said. “This election, people were motivated in the way they voted. You could say this election was a referendum, in some respects.”
Springer said that Bethel voters made a statement in this election. They decided who they wanted to represent them, and who they didn’t want to represent them. Other council members, like Franko, said that the application period just seemed like a more conventional approach. Plus, this is what she believed the city residents wanted her to do.
“It sounded like, just hearing from people in the community and reading the packet, this seemed like the best, typical option,” Franko said.
Applicants for the vacant city council seat, which will be held for a one-year term, can now submit their letters of interest to the Bethel City Clerk. They have until Oct. 15 to apply. The council plans to appoint someone to the seat at the next regular meeting on Oct. 22.