New Golden Valley City Councilmembers Kimberly Sanberg and Maurice Harris stepped up to the dais to be sworn in Jan. 7 for their first meeting. Re-elected Mayor Shep Harris also took the oath of office, and the new council began conducting their first meeting of the year (not much was on the agenda, other than standard consent matters and a review of the council calendar).

The outgoing council members were also treated to something special.

“As is customary and traditional – and also part of city policy – the city bestows to outgoing council members a gift,” explained City Manager Tim Cruikshank as he stepped away from his customary place. “A gift of gratitude, a gift of thanks.”

First outgoing member Joanie Clausen and then Steven Schmidgall were called before the council to be recognized for their service and given a commemorative glass vase. The two were also given plaques with mini gavels that honored their respective times as chair on the Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

Each was given an opportunity to speak. Clausen thanked others for support, at times tearful, as she had attempted and lost a bid for another term. Schmidgall, who had planned to forfeit his council seat for a shot at the mayor’s seat, raised concern that the new council wasn’t as politically diverse as the former.

When the parting speeches were completed, the audience shifted its focus to the new members. Sanberg and Maurice Harris stepped away from their seats in the crowd to take their oaths and sit among the council. Maurice Harris was sworn in by Hennepin County Judge Kathryn Quaintance, as was Mayor Shep Harris. Kimberly Sanberg opted to have her oath administered by her mother-in-law, Federal Judge Kathleen Hvass Sanberg.

When those were complete, the families of the new council gathered at the podium to lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The council members will serve until Dec. 31, 2023. Seats held by Councilmembers Larry Fonnest and Gillian Rosenquist will be up for re-election in November 2021.

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