Appointments, Reappointments Were Part of Dec. 10 Auburn Council Mtg.; Three New Members Assumed Office
During the Dec. 10 meeting, Auburn City Council reorganized with three new members. Agenda items included approval of Mayor Scott Kudrna’s Annual Appointments and Council Committee assignments.
City Clerk Sherry Heskett read the certified election results from Nemaha County Clerk Joyce Oakley which indicated those elected last month were Councilmen Tom Clark in the 1st Ward (220 votes compared to 183 votes for Dennis Goering), Rick Janssen in the 2nd Ward (332 votes compared to 201 votes for Frank Critser), and Jeff Jeanneret in the 3rd Ward (295 votes compared to 205 for Chris Erickson).
Larry Holtzman was elected Council President for 2013.
The Mayor recommended these City Council Standing Committee appointments:
Budget/Finance: Katy Billings, Rick Janssen
Street: Larry Holtzman, Jeff Jeanneret
Safety: Shawn Clark, Harry Bridgmon
Keep Auburn Beautiful: Holtzman, Jeanneret
Economic Development: Billings, Janssen
Building/Special: Shawn Clark, Tom Clark
Ordinance: Brent Lottman, Angelo Ligouri, Tom Clark, Jeanneret
Insurance: Janssen, Holtzman
These Annual Appointments were approved:
City Clerk: Sherry Heskett
City Treasurer: Joe Casey
City Attorney: Angelo Ligouri
Assistant City Attorneys: Dylan Handley, Louie Ligouri
Physician: Dr. Gary Ensz
Building Inspector: Glen Hogue
Street Commissioner: Harry Bridgmon
City Engineer: Evan Wickersham with JEO Consulting Group Inc.
The following appointments/reappointments were approved:
Parks & Pool Committee: Kevin Walker, Ron Jones, Linda Ellison, Frank Critser, Matt Hug, Shawn Clark and Troy Wynn. Critser completed his service as an elected councilman earlier in the meeting.
The Nemaha County Herald was again designated as the Official Newspaper for the City of Auburn.
BPW Board Appointments Failed
Two appointments proposed by the Mayor, but which failed to receive council approval were potential new Board of Public Works board members. Kudrna proposed the appointments of Mitch Bishop and Jim Oestmann II. They would replace Doug Glenn and Mark Kubik, whose terms expire at the end of the year. Bishop completed his service as an appointed councilman earlier that meeting but wasn’t present for the meeting.
Monday’s audience in the council chambers included a strong representation of Board of Public Works employees, their spouses, family members and others who were concerned about the proposed change in BPW leadership.
Mayor Kudrna said his proposed change on the BPW Board was needed because of the tremendous increases in rates for water and wastewater. “Something needs to be done to control costs,” he told those present.
He added, “According to a Nebraska Municipal Power Pool survey, Auburn’s sewer and water rates are three to four times higher than normal for some other communities.”
While acknowledging that the millions of dollars spent with new city water and wastewater treatment facilities were dictated by mandates from higher up, the Mayor said he still doesn’t believe that rates need to be as high as they are at present.
When asked what qualified the Mayor’s proposed appointees to serve on the BPW Board, Kudrna said they are Auburn businessmen who he believes would do a fine job. He also reminded the citizens that such appointments are at the pleasure of the Mayor.
City Attorney Angelo Ligouri explained that if a majority of council members didn’t approve the appointments, the current BPW Board members whose terms expire at the end of the month could continue serving until such a time that the council approves recommended appointees.
Finally, after considerable discussion by the council and input from audience members, the vote on the appointments failed 0-6.