The chambers at Centennial City Council struggled to hold the throng of citizens, families and elected officials that packed in to watch the new city council sworn in - minus one member due to a vacancy left in Mayor Stephanie Piko's former District 4 seat.
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Right off the bat at the Jan. 8 council meeting, it was clear the city wasn't pulling any punches in sending old councilmembers off with a large, public thank-you - former councilmembers Mark Gotto, Charles "C.J." Whelan, Doris Truhlar and former Mayor Cathy Noon all received large, commemorative Centennial street signs with their last names and years of service inscribed on them.
"You were the right mayor at the right time," Piko said, giving send-off remarks next to Noon, whose sign read "Noon Way."
"Well, that says it all, right?" Piko laughed.
Noon handled the going-away speeches for Gotto, Truhlar and Whelan with humor, thanking Whelan for the "friendship and the ice cream we've shared over the years." After Noon's own farewell, Centennial Municipal Judge Ford Wheatley swore in the new councilmembers - Tammy Maurer for District 2, Mike Sutherland for District 3 and Marlo Alston for District 4 - along with swearing in the re-elected Kathy Turley for District 1 and, of course, Piko as mayor.
State Sen. Jack Tate, R-Centennial, and Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Sharpe, who represents much of Centennial, also attended the event.
After the festivities ended, the newly sworn-in council discussed how best to fill the vacancy in District 4, which encompasses roughly the northeastern corner of the city. Each of Centennial's four districts is represented by two councilmembers.
In such cases, city council has the choice to let voters choose in a special election or to appoint a new councilmember itself. The council chose the appointment process, partly to avoid costs of holding an election and partly to have a full nine members seated without waiting what would likely be multiple months.
Applications, available on the city website, are due by 5 p.m. Jan. 17 - the city gave prospective applicants about a week - and council will narrow down its choices at a Jan. 22 meeting to decide who will be publicly interviewed in another meeting on Feb. 5.
The council will then decide if the selection process should continue or if it will make an appointment. There is not a set time frame for when a new councilmember will take the seat.
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