During his farewell speech at Monday’s City and Borough of Juneau Assembly meeting, Mayor Ken Koelsch pointed out that incoming Mayor Beth Weldon had been in the office on both Saturday and Sunday during the previous weekend.
“You do realize you’re not getting paid yet,” Koelsch said, as a standing-room-only crowd at the Assembly chambers.
Weldon’s term as mayor began Monday night, as Koelsch handed the gavel over to her.
Koelsch looked back at his 932 days as mayor, from difficult Assembly meetings to throwing out the first pitch at a little league game to various successful infrastructure projects. Koelsch saluted past Assembly members, current Assembly members, CBJ staff for their service and thanked the media members for keeping the public informed.
He was presented with a few gifts, including a ceremonial gavel to put on his wall. He handed over the official gavel to Weldon, and even pulled out Weldon’s high school yearbook. Koelsch pointed to the quote printed on the final page: “For the class of ’83, the best is yet to come.”
“It is true,” Koelsch told Weldon. “You’ll be an extraordinary mayor. The best is yet to come.”
That wasn’t the only Assembly seat that was transferred over at Monday’s meeting. The three new Assembly members — District 2 members Wade Bryson and Michelle Bonnet Hale and Areawide member Carole Triem — were sworn in, along with District 1 Assembly member Loren Jones, who ran for re-election unopposed. Municipal Attorney Rob Palmer led them in the swearing-in ceremony.
Hale takes the seat that former Assembly member and Deputy Mayor Jerry Nankervis left by running for the House District 34 seat, was in attendance Monday night. Bryson will serve the remaining one year left of Weldon’s Assembly term. Weldon had to resign her seat to run for mayor. Triem will serve the one year left on former Assembly member Norton Gregory’s term. Gregory also resigned to run for mayor, finishing third in the four-person race. Jones has served two terms and enters his third and final term on the Assembly.
With Nankervis leaving, the Assembly members had to elect a new deputy mayor. They unanimously selected Maria Gladziszewski, who is one year into her second term on the Assembly. Gladziszewski will also take Nankervis’ role as the chair of the Committee of the Whole, which is an Assembly committee that includes all of the Assembly members and meets as a work session that does not usually take public comment or pass ordinances.
“We have a lot of challenges,” Gladziszewski said, addressing the rest of the Assembly. “They’re not going to be easy, but together I think we can make progress and I look forward to working on all of those with all of you.”
Both Gregory and Nankervis were in attendance Monday, and both were honored at the beginning of the meeting. Koelsch read off summaries of their service. Nankervis served two full terms, while Gregory served two years of his first term.
The two former Assembly members were involved on numerous committees, and Nankervis has served as the deputy mayor and as the chair of the Committee of the Whole for the past two years. They were both brief in their farewell comments.
Nankervis pointed out that most people see the serious side of him and fellow Assembly members in meetings, but the job is more fun than most people realize. Gregory left the new Assembly members a few words of wisdom along the same lines.
“Do your homework, get lots of rest, make sure you eat before you come to meetings and have a little bit of fun,” Gregory said.
Weldon also assigned new committee and liaison assignments at the meeting. Assembly member Mary Becker will chair the Facility Project Team (a joint Assembly-Board of Education group) and the Lands Committee; Assembly member Jesse Kiehl will chair the Finance Committee again; Jones will chair the Public Works and Facilities Committee; and Assembly member Rob Edwardson will chair the Human Resources Committee.
The new Assembly members will participate in committees, but will not chair any. All Assembly members are on the Committee of the Whole and the Finance Committee.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.