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Johnson, judge and council members take oath of office

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

The transition from Mayor Bob Young to Mayor-elect Neil Johnson has begun.

At the Dec. 13 Bonney Lake City Council meeting, the last for 2005, Judge James Helbling swore in Johnson, which allows him to officially assume the mayoral duties Jan. 1.

“I was honored and humbled and nervous,” Johnson said. “This is something I take very seriously.”

Young was not present due to illness.

Johnson said he intends to “hit the ground running” once he assume office.

“I'm reviewing the organization chart,” Johnson said. “We're putting together a game plan to best serve the citizens efficiently.”

Johnson said he saw the chart as “minor tweaks allowing us to created better opportunities to provide service.”

The mayor-elect noted he did not see major overhauls or requests for any additional staff at this point.

“Mainly it's a matter of moving things around,” Johnson said. “There are a number of positions that have not been filled. Once we review the chart, we may be able to move some positions to help.”

Also heading Johnson's agenda for the New Year will be the budget.

The mayor-elect said he expects the budget to be roughly the same as last year, which was $70 million.

Johnson said he has started reviewing requests from department heads.

The council passed a budget based on last year's numbers, allowing Johnson to review the budget in January and make final recommendations and adjustments.

Also sworn in at the meeting were council members Dan Swatman, Dave King and Dave Bowen.

Bowen is the only new member of the council. He will be assuming the seat in Ward 4 vacated by Swatman, who is taking the At Large 1 seat Johnson gave up for the mayor's job.

King is serving a second term in Ward 1.

Helbling was sworn in for a fifth term on the bench.

Councilman Jim Rackley introduced a motion, which passed, paying Administrative Services Coordinator Don Morrison six extra days in January.

The motion reverses a decision by Young to dock Morrison's pay three days, plus two days holiday pay over Thanksgiving. The mayor took action against Morrison for an e-mail he (Morrison) sent to a prospective human resources applicant warning her to be careful taking a job in the Young administration since he had lost the primary and would not be mayor in January.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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