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New Colusa City Council sworn in
It looked a little bit like a game of musical chairs Tuesday night in the council chambers in Colusa City Hall.
When the music stopped, a new City Council was seated, and a palpable feeling that the direction of the town was about to change was evident.
"I really like the (complexion) of our council right now," said Councilman Tom Reische, who was appointed mayor for the fourth time. "I look forward to moving forward and getting down to business."
Of course, that imminent feeling of change was even more evident with the firing of City Manager Jan McClintock in August, an increasingly unpopular administration that probably cost Council members Kay Hosmer and Pat Landreth their seats.
Both had been supporters of McClintock, though Landreth did ultimately change his stand and proved to be the deciding vote in her dismissal.
In their place are Marilyn Acree and Greg Ponciano, who were sworn in along with returning Councilman Kirk Kelleher.
"I'm just very excited about the future," Kelleher said. "We have a lot of complex issues in the next year."
Despite just coming on board, Ponciano was selected as mayor pro temp, and thanked the staff and the other council members "in advance" for their patience as he works himself into the job.
The other member on the council is Donna Critchfield, who served as vice mayor this past year, and guided a short portion of Tuesday's meeting.
What might have been a usual line of succession to the mayor's seat did not take place, and Critchfield joined the others in support of Reische and Ponciano.
While the new city manager's position was not discussed — or even mentioned — at the meeting, it was the big elephant in the room.
The ad hoc committee guiding the selection of the city's next chief executive reviewed the applications prior to the meeting, and are expected to update the rest of the council on Dec. 18.
Reische had also met with acting City Manager Randy Dunn, who apparently had jotted down notes about some of those applicants.
It is unclear, however, whether the new council will take its own look at the position and what kind of city manager is desired. Individual members have strong and very different ideas on the topic.
However, the process to replace McClintock, including setting the qualifications and job description, was started under the old council.
Also to be settled is the role Dunn will have in the hiring process since has recently said he has been approached by people in the community about keeping the position, and admitted he has at least given it some thought. However, he did not formally apply for the job, and Reische said that Dunn would only be an option if the council could not find the person they wanted among the applicants.
Tuesday's meeting was more about celebrating the new members and thanking those who had served.
Acree specifically thanked each member of the previous council for his or her service.
Hosmer and Landreth were humble in their departure, thanking the staff and noting how much they had learned being on the council.
Hosmer also noted that there were a lot of big issues the council will face in the coming year or two, and wished the council luck with its decisions.
The council did approve sending the new council members and anyone else who had not attended to the California League of Cities orientation for first-time mayors and new council members.
The funding for the session is already in the budget, Dunn said.