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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn City Council sworn in, Witten remains mayor pro tem

<p>Auburn's City Council meets in the City Council Chamber at 141 N. Ross St. on May 4, 2021.</p>

Auburn's City Council meets in the City Council Chamber at 141 N. Ross St. on May 4, 2021.

On Monday afternoon, members of the newest iteration of the Auburn City Council were sworn into their respective offices in front of a crowd almost exclusively comprised of smiling family members and city government officials.

Ward 3 Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Beth Witten was unanimously voted on to remain as mayor pro tem. Witten, who was nominated by Mayor Ron Anders, was the only member nominated for the position.

“I'm proud to make this nomination. Over the last four years, Mrs. Witten has served as the Mayor Pro Tem, [and] she's done an outstanding job,” Anders said. “Just because she's the Mayor Pro Tem doesn't always mean that we vote alike, because there have been times that we have not voted alike, but I know her commitment is substantial to the city of Auburn.”

Ward 8 Councilman Tommy Dawson was also highly complimentary of Witten and her previous performance as mayor pro tem.

“I'd just like to say how much I've enjoyed working with Mrs. Witten,” Dawson said. “She's been very professional in all her duties and making Auburn proud. I don't always agree with her, at all. However, I do think she represents Auburn well and she'll do a great job.”

On Monday, Nov. 7, the Auburn City Council was sworn in to serve the next four years. From left to right:  Connie Fitch Taylor, Kelley Griswold, Beth Witten, Tyler Adams, Ron Anders Jr., Sonny Moreman, Bob Parsons, Max Coblentz and Tommy Dawson.

Among those sworn in by Judge Jim McLaughlin were fresh faces Tyler Adams, Sonny Moreman and Max Coblentz, who now represent Wards 4, 5 and 7, respectively.

As the new session begins, those three new members will not have much time to reflect on their victories.

However, as the new session officially began, each of them reflected on what it meant to them to be council members and where their priorities lie.

For Moreman, the chance to be a council member has been a long time coming.

“It’s nice that I have this instead of just being retired, you know? I have something to do that feels very important,” Moreman said. “I've spent all my life putting skills together to be on that council, so hopefully, I'm praying, that I'll do a good job. And I certainly have looked forward to this for a long time.”

As a native son of Auburn, one of his top priorities in the new term is to ensure growth around the Loveliest Village on the Plains can be sustained. 

“We all hope to retain the old feeling of Auburn that we've all come to love. We all want to hang on to what we've got, so it's very important that we do that,” Moreman said. “So hopefully we'll agree on that, and we'll help to maintain what we have and to control the growth which is just exploding in Auburn.”

In District 4, Adams said he was impressed with those he will be working with regarding the city’s affairs.

“I feel very good, I'm looking forward to working with everybody,” Adams said. “I think we've got a very good group of people and I think we work well together.”

While he said he believed the city is moving in the right direction, he also claimed that he wanted to ensure that the City Council remained transparent with citizens in addition to other basic issues a rapidly expanding city should remain aware of.

“Parks and rec and facilities, that's very important to me,” Adams said. “And making sure that we keep our infrastructure [up to date] because the city’s growing very quick. Infrastructure has to keep up. We do a pretty good job, but if we don't stay on it then we'll get behind.”

Coblentz, who made supporting and improving Auburn City Schools and investing in recreation areas the central components of his campaign, said he was excited about the possibilities the next four years will bring to Auburn.

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After numerous orientation sessions that acquainted the three new members with their responsibilities and each of the city's departments, there was sure to be a learning curve for all three new council members.

“Just kind of getting used to the job, I guess, learning the process that we go through, and I know that there's some interesting things the next few weeks and months: the Board of Education is one of our first things,” Coblentz said. 

Daniel Schmidt | Assistant News Editor

Daniel Schmidt, senior in journalism, is the assistant news editor for the Auburn Plainsman. 

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