New city leaders take oath of office Tuesday

Vermillion native Dan Christopherson beamed eight years ago when city voters first elected him to the office of mayor.

Tuesday night, he seemed just as happy to walk away from the office after helping the city construct a new city hall and celebrate the sesquicentennial of its founding in grand style last summer, all while taking care of the day-to-day tasks required of the city's chief executive.

Christopherson term as mayor ended Tuesday. He chose not to seek re-election earlier this year.

"I would like to thank everyone for all of their support over the years," he said. "It's been a good ride, and I appreciate it very much."

Alderman Jack Powell was elected by a wide majority to succeed Christopherson in the municipal election held in early June.

Serving with him on the city council which began its term Tuesday night is one new face, and three people Powell has served with in the past.

Incumbent Alderman Kent Osborne, who was re-elected in June, along with John Grayson, who defeated Central Ward incumbent Mary Edelen, were sworn into office Tuesday by Circuit Court Judge Art Rusch. Also taking the oath of office were Tom Davies, who last served on the city council five years ago and will represent the Northwest Ward once again, and Dennis Zimmerman, also a past member of the city council who again was sworn into office as alderman from the Southeast Ward.

Davies fills the office vacated by Powell when he decided to run for mayor; Zimmerman replaces Alderman Ray Hofman who decided not to seek another term on the city council and instead was successfully elected to the office of Clay County Register of Deeds last month.

Christopherson and Powell exchanged gifts just before the new city council officially took over the reigns of city government. The former mayor presented the new mayor a copy of Robert's Rules of Order, adorned with a bow.

Powell read a tribute to Christopherson, noting his years of service to the community, and presented him with a gavel and something quite familiar – a framed award designating Christopherson as an honorary captain of the Corps of Discovery.

It's an award Christopherson created himself approximately six years ago to present to esteemed visitors and local citizens to honor their accomplishments.

Just like eight years ago, Christopherson's family and many well-wishers made up a portion of Tuesday's night audience in the city council meeting chambers. Everyone present gave him a standing ovation shortly before he asked council members, for the last time, for a motion to adjourn the meeting of the "old" city council so that the new mayor and aldermen could begin their work.

"I appreciate very much having the opportunity to serve," Christopherson said, "and I really appreciate, very much, my family being here. It means a lot to me."

Aldermen chose Kent Osborne to serve as president of the city council. Howard Willson was tapped to serve as vice president.

Aldermen Steve Ward, Davies, and Zimmerman will serve on the city's Labor and Finance Committee. Chairman is Alderman Jennifer French.

The city Policy and Procedures Committee is lead by Osborne. Other members are Davies, Clarene Meines and Willson.

Meins also serves as chairman of the city's Surplus Property Appraisal Committee. Other members are Osborne, Grayson and Willson.

Mayor Powell is chairman of the city's Utilities Committee. Ward, French and Zimmerman also serve on that committee.

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