New council to be sworn in Monday

Monday night will mark the start of a new Jefferson City Council, as three new members prepare to take their seats.

The new council will be sworn in Monday, after a meeting of the current council wraps up. James Branch will be sworn in for the 1st Ward seat currently held by Bob Weber; Ken Hussey will be sworn in for the 3rd Ward seat currently held by Bryan Pope; and Carlos Graham will be sworn in for the 4th Ward seat currently held by Bill Luebbert. Second Ward Councilman Shawn Schulte and 5th Ward Councilman Ralph Bray also will be sworn in for another term.

But before the new council can begin, the current council must finish existing business. Several bills still need to be acted on, including one to reduce the salary of council members and the mayor to $1 per year.

Currently, City Council members receive $450 per month and the mayor receives $900 per month. According to the city charter, “the council shall determine the annual compensation of councilmen by ordinance, but the salary of a councilman shall not be increased or diminished during his term.”

That means, if passed, the salary reduction only would effect Branch, Hussey, Graham, Schulte and Bray immediately.

The charter also states “the salary of the mayor shall be fixed by ordinance, and shall not be increased or diminished during the mayor’s term of office.” Council members and the mayor are both able to receive “reasonable reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses.”

After the current council finishes its existing business, the new council will be sworn in, followed by a short reception and break. Then the new council members will take their seats and begin their first meeting.

Council members will vote on a resolution to delay any new hire testing for the Fire Department, which normally is done every two years. Interim Chief Jason Turner said delaying the test would save the city about $6,000.

Mayor Eric Struemph said the delay is because of a hiring freeze for the current and next fiscal years. Turner said if the department does wind up needing to hire a new firefighter, there is a list of qualified people who have already passed the necessary tests.

If approved, the next new hire test for firefighters would be in the fall of 2014.

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