WILLMAR — Three new Willmar City Council members and one returning member were sworn into office at the start of Monday's council meeting, the first of the year. The meeting was held remotely due to COVID-19.
Julie Asmus was sworn into her second term as a representative of Ward 2. Joining the council are Michael O'Brien replacing Kathy Schwantes in Ward 1, Justin Ask replacing Fernando Alvarado in Ward 3 and Tom Butterfield replacing Shawn Mueske in Ward 4.
"Congratulations to each one of you," said City Clerk Judy Thompson who opened the meeting.
Eighth Judicial District Judge Jennifer Fischer administered the oath to the council members.
"Thank you for serving," Fischer said after the oath.
Pastor Jon Dahl, from Bethel Lutheran Church, gave an invocation after the oath of office and Pledge of Allegiance.
"I pray 2021 can be a coming together year for our city, our country and our world. Thank you for being leaders and being such a big part of making Willmar the best she can be," Dahl said.
Following the ceremony, the council completed the reorganization of the board. Councilor Rick Fagerlie was named mayor pro tempore, who acts as the mayor's back-up if he cannot attend a meeting.
The council committee assignments were also decided. There are four committees with four members. One council member from each ward serves on two committees. The Finance Committee will include Councilors Fagerlie, Audrey Nelsen, Andrew Plowman and Julie Asmus; and serving on the Labor Committee will be Councilors Vicki Davis, Butterfield, Ask and O'Brien. Fagerlie, Davis, O'Brien and Butterfield will sit on the Community Development Committee and Nelsen, Plowman, Asmus and Ask will serve on the Public Works/Public Safety Committee.
Councilors were also assigned to other boards and commissions that require council representation, either as full voting members or as a council liaison.