Vernon’s new mayor

Vernon’s new mayor

New council sets out 2012 agenda

Assignments have been handed out at Vernon city hall.

Assignments have been handed out at Vernon city hall.

Committee appointments for 2012 were confirmed as those who topped the polls Nov. 19 were sworn in as council Monday.

“There are six good councillors and and you’re trying to balance things out with what they’ve asked for and their experience,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky of the process he followed for appointments.

At the Regional District of North Okanagan board, Vernon will be represented by Sawatzky and Councillors Juliette Cunningham and Patrick Nicol.

Sawatzky and Councillors Bob Spiers and Catherine Lord will sit at the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, which oversees water and parks, recreation and culture.

Sawatzky says the city’s goal is to  try and defuse conflicts with the other Greater Vernon jurisdictions by improving communications.

“That will be the ongoing part of the job, part of the work.”

The city’s finance committee will consist of Sawatzky, Lord and Spiers while Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe will sit on the economic development committee and O’Keefe Ranch.

Coun. Brian Quiring has been named to the environmental and tourism advisory committees.

“I got what I asked for,” said Quiring, who is new to council.

Nicol and Cunningham will be representatives to the affordable housing committee.

During Monday’s inaugural meeting, outgoing mayor Wayne Lippert presented Sawatzky with the chain of office.

“Wear it with pride and honour and remember that you represent all citizens of Vernon,” said Lippert, who thanked residents for the support they showed him during six years as mayor.

“It’s been an honour and a privilege and I learned a lot. It’s a great city.”

Besides Lippert, outgoing councillors Buffy Baumbrough, Jack Gilroy and Shawn Lee were recognized for their contributions to the community.

The first order of business for the new council is developing the 2012 budget, followed by searching for a chief administrative officer to replace Leon Gous, who is going back into the private sector.

“There is the feeling that things can be quite daunting but it will be great,” said Sawatzky.

Nicol, who has been on council for 22 years, is confident the next three-year term will be challenging but productive.

“There’s a lot of parts to the community that we’ll all be familiar with. We are here to serve the citizens and that’s what we’ll do,” he said of council.