Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Marion City Council sworn in

Marion's new two-year council was sworn in this week. Pictured above being sworn in Tuesday by County Attorney Rebecca Johnson are (from left) Janet Crider-Pierce, Mike Byford, Dwight Sherer and Darrin Tabor.

Marion's new city council was sworn in this week, with separate ceremonies perhaps signaling an ongoing divide over construction of a new firehouse.

On Monday, councilmen Don Arflack and Jim Brown, each re-elected to another two-year term, were sworn in by City Clerk Pam Enoch. Then, on Tuesday, the remaining four members – incumbents Janet Pierce, Dwight Sherer and Darrin Tabor and newcomer Mike Byford – were sworn in by County Attorney Rebecca Johnson. 

Brown and Arflack, in November, voted against moving ahead with a study to build a new fire station on the vacant corner of North Main and West Bellville streets, and have subsequently continued to voice their opposition to the plan. Both claim the site is dangerous because of heavy traffic at the intersection and that building on an alternate property at the corner of East Bellville and North College would be safer and more cost-effective.

State law requires all newly-elected officials be sworn in before Jan. 1, 2009. Arflack said that as of Monday neither he nor Brown had heard anything of plans for installation of the new council, so the two opted to schedule their own ceremony for that day. On Tuesday, The Crittenden Press was contacted by City Administrator Mark Bryant about the ceremony installing the other four council members for 2009 and 2010.

Arflack, explaining his reasoning for going ahead with installing, said he wanted to ensure he and Brown accommodated the law's timeline. Meantime, Bryant said there were no plans to exclude any council member from Tuesday's official ceremony and indicated he was unaware of early installation of the two until it had already occurred. Pierce, Byford, Sherer and Tabor were all contacted after Arflack and Brown's installation for Tuesday's ceremony.