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Local elections get certified: Assembly and Council members sworn in

Daily News Staff Writer

Right hands were raised across Ketchikan on Monday as members of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly and Ketchikan City Council were sworn in after being elected to local office last Tuesday.

At 5:30 p.m. the Assembly held two special meetings — one to certify the results of the municipal election, and then another to swear in the Assembly members elected.

The Assembly had two three-year-term seats up for election, with incumbent Felix Wong retaining one of the seats and Sven Westergard securing the other that was left open by departing Assembly Member Stephen Bradford.

After being sworn in, the five members present thanked voters for taking part in the civic process, although a couple members noted that turnout, which was at 26 percent this year, should be higher given the number of voters registered in the borough.

Westergard, after receiving his new placard and taking his spot up on the dais, told the Assembly and crowd that he looked forward to working for the community. He also expressed hopes that next year would see even greater voter turnout.

“I’d just like to thank everybody who got out and voted,” Westergard said. “… I’m definitely new at this, but I like to jump in head-first and get down to business.”

Wong thanked both his fellow candidates and voters for re-electing him to the position for a second time.

“I’d like to thank the public for stepping forward to run in the race; as I’ve said on quite a few occasions we were spoiled for choices here,” Wong said. “I’d like to thank those who have voted as well, did their civic duty to make (their) voice heard.”

Also at Monday’s meetings, the Assembly recognized Bradford, who has served for the past term on the Assembly as vice mayor.

Borough Mayor David Landis read a proclamation commending him for his service, and Bradford received a couple gifts from the Assembly. One of those gifts was a plaque, and the other — to much laughter — was a DVD copy of “Grumpy Old Men.”

Bradford, who according to Landis attended 88 meetings during his time in office, told the Assembly that he was grateful for not only the other members of the Assembly, but also the staff, noting in particular the leadership of Borough Manager Ruben Duran.

“I would like to state tonight that I was motivated three years ago because I knew that some changes were coming to the borough and I wanted to have my input be a part of that process,” Bradford said.

“You guys are valued and sometimes we don’t show it, but you are,” Bradford added.

After the members were sworn in, a reception with cake was held in celebration of the occasion.

Following the Assembly’s certification, the Ketchikan City Council held its own special meeting and certification of elections at 7 p.m.

Incumbent Janalee Gage as well as Sam Bergeron, were sworn in to the council. Bergeron filled the seat left by Bob Sivertsen, who was sworn in as the city’s new mayor, replacing Lew Williams III.

Gage and Bergeron were, like the Assembly members, elected to three-year terms.

During the meeting, Gage, who is returning for another term, thanked folks for voting and noted her appreciation of Williams, who is retiring after more than nine years in the role.

Bergeron also thanked voters and complimented the management of the City of Ketchikan.

“I’d like to say thank you to everyone who came out and voted,” Bergeron said. “… I did want to add I’m glad I have the opportunity to say thank you to Lew Williams and to express my gratitude for all your years of service as mayor of Ketchikan.”

Sivertsen, in his new role as mayor, also took the time to note that this year’s municipal election ran smoothly.

“I’d like to welcome Sam and Janalee back, and I agree, the elections were good elections — they were run well,” Sivertsen said.

Also at Monday’s special meeting, a resolution was read honoring Williams’ years of service to the Ketchikan community.

Sivertsen read the resolution, which included a number of Williams’ accomplishments during his tenure, including renovating PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, overseeing construction of the library, the new fire station, and road improvements, amongst other achievements.

“Ketchikan is a better place to live because of his actions,” Sivertsen read.

Williams also was presented a large glossy mounted photograph of Ketchikan and a wristwatch as parting gifts.

He addressed the council and thanked the councilors who served with him, the myriad of city staff, and his wife, Vicki.

“I just thank everyone in town (for) just giving me their confidence to do this first of all,” Williams said. “… Ketchikan is a fantastic place and I really enjoy it.”

“I thank God for giving me the opportunity to do this,” he told those in attendance.

The municipal elections were held on Oct. 3.