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City government gets a facelift

By Staff | Jun 24, 2010

Dave Cichos officially took office again as Rugby Mayor and four newly-elected councilman were also sworn in last week as part of a city government reorganizational meeting at City Hall on June 22.

Dale Niewoehner conducted his last act as mayor by giving the oath of office to Cichos, who becomes the first mayor elected to non-successive terms. Cichos previously served in the position from 1994-2002.

Cichos then administered the oath to the four newly-elected councilman – Neil Lotvedt, ward one; Dave Bednarz, ward two; Jerry Harmel, ward three; Arland Geiszler, ward four – and municipal judge Sharon Peterschick.

A recount conducted on June 14 revealed that Ward Three incumbent Bill Hartl and challenger Jerry Harmel were still deadlocked at 86 votes each and city officials would need to declare an election winner by drawing one of their name’s out of a hat.

However, it never reached that point as Hartl, who has served the past two years on the council, withdrew from the ward three position on June 21, giving Harmel the seat.

Hartl, an attorney, was approached by Cichos following the election to consider filling the city attorney position which became vacant earlier this month after Mark Butz, stepped down after 20 years in the office.

He’s looking forward to serving in this role, noting it will be both challenging and rewarding. His late father Robert., also served in the role, so to follow in his footsteps is also special.At the meeting, Cichos appointed and administered the oath of office to Hartl as well as city officials Karla Harmel, city auditor-adminstrator; and Luis Coca, police chief.

Ward Two Councilman Gerry Jacobson won a coin flip and became council president for the first time since 2008.

Jacobson and Terry Wentz, ward four councilman, were both nominated by their fellow council members to fill the position. Both received four votes. Jacobson gave his vote to Wentz while Wentz gave his to Jacobson.

Cichos didn’t want to have be put in the hot seat right away in having to break the tie to select a council president, so he asked if a coin toss could be used to break the tie. The council agreed. Jacobson called the flip “tails” – and tails it was.

Wentz was then nominated and unanimously selected to fill the council vice president post.

Cichos also announced his committee assignments for the coming year. He combined the water committee with streets and sewer committee and established a new committee – personnel. That committee Cichos will chair and also includes two city employees.

Following his appointments, Cichos asked the council to give consideration to a couple of infrastructure projects for the future.

One, he called on the building committee to work with the Rugby Fire Department in getting the planned fire hall moving toward completion. He asked the water and street and sewer committee to begin the task of replacing old and outdated water meters in the city. This project likely would need to be completed in phases.

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