City officials sworn in
Arland Geiszler became the 26th mayor of Rugby at a special city council meeting for reorganization on Tuesday at City Hall. Geiszler was sworn in by former mayor David C. Cichos, who was elected in 2010 and previously served in the position from 1994 to 2002.
“I think Dave left us in pretty good position,” Geiszler said. “He’s done a lot to get us to this point, but there’s a lot of work ahead of us.”
Geiszler, previously a council member from Ward 4, administered the oaths of office for reelected municipal judge Sharon Harmel and four council members.
Neil Lotvedt and Dave Bednarz, Ward 1 and Ward 2 council members, respectively, were sworn in. Newcomers Joel Berg and Craig Zachmeier, Ward 3 and Ward 4 council members, respectively, were sworn in and joined the table for the first time.
“I’m sure they’ll do a great job,” Cichos said. “You got some experience and you got some new people, which will be good. I think Rugby’s got a good potential to grow.”
Geiszler reappointed three city officials in Chief of Police John Rose, City Attorney Bill Hartl and City Auditor Dawn Hauck.
Bednarz made a motion, which was seconded by Lotvedt, to nominate Ward 3 representative Jim Hoffert as council president. Hoffert made a motion, which was seconded by Bednarz, to nominate Ward 4 council member Terry Wentz as vice president. Both nominees received unanimous support.
“I will do my part as an elected official to be available to fill in for the mayor in his absence,” Hoffert said.
Geiszler then shared his realignment of council members and other officials to various committees as follows:
Finance – Hoffert (chairman), Bednarz and Ward 2 council member Gary Kraft
Public safety – Bednarz (chairman), Wentz and Berg
Ordinance and recreation – Zachmeier (chairman), Lotvedt and Ward 1 council member Bruce Rheault
Public works – Wentz (chairman), Zachmeier and Lotvedt
Buildings, property and construction – Lotvedt (chairman), Hoffert and Kraft
Personnel – Geiszler (chairman), Hoffert, Hauck and Rose
Wentz and Hoffert were appointed as representatives to the LEC. Rheault was appointed to the city planning and zoning commission. Rheault and Lotvedt were appointed to the county planning and zoning commission. Berg was appointed to the Job Development Authority and Heart of America Library boards.
The term construction was added to the buildings and property committee. The mayor said committees will meet the third Wednesday of each month and explained that duties include researching subjects at hand and bringing info to the full council for discussion and voting.
Following recent discussions on information sharing beyond committees, Geiszler emphasized that the council is not trying to hinder open discussion.
“We’re all here to work together for the good of our community and benefit of residents,” he said.
Geiszler urged council members to review the rules of conduct and open meeting laws. He told new members that a tour of city facilities can be arranged. He also reminded the council that city offices are closed July 4, the next regular meeting is July 7 at 7:30 p.m., and committee meetings are July 16. Council members were encouraged to attend the North Dakota League of Cities annual conference Sept. 25-27 in Minot.
Before concluding the reorganization meeting, Geiszler thanked his predecessor and presented Cichos with a plaque.
“Thank you very much, personally from me,” Geiszler said. “I appreciated working with you. You’re a good leader.”
Second special meeting held
A second special meeting was held Tuesday following the reorganization meeting. The council approved a fireworks permit for Rugby Volunteer Fire Department for July 4 at the Pierce County Fair.
The council tabled a decision on selling or keeping the open lot on 3rd Street across from the fire hall and between Third Street Station and the apartment building under renovation. The lot is jointly owned by the city and the rural fire board, which has agreed to dispose of the lot.
Zachmeier suggested making the lot a parking area for city employees and Hoffert suggested the possibility of selling it for parking of future tenants of the building to the east. Kraft said there will be more parking available on the north side of third street once the fire department moves out of that building.
The council discussed the possibility of using the lower level of the current fire hall for future council meetings in order to be handicap accessible.
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