Brainerd City Council: Members elect Johnson council president
Gabe Johnson is the new leader of the Brainerd City Council, voted in unanimously as council president Monday, Jan. 7. "I'm very excited and honored that my colleagues would be able to trust me with the gavel for a couple years," Johnson said aft...
Gabe Johnson is the new leader of the Brainerd City Council, voted in unanimously as council president Monday, Jan. 7.
"I'm very excited and honored that my colleagues would be able to trust me with the gavel for a couple years," Johnson said after Monday's council meeting. "We're going to continue to move in the right direction that Dave (Pritschet) has been leading us in the last two years."
Johnson, alderman of Ward 4, ran unopposed in the 2018 election, earning his second term on the city council. He succeeds as council president Dave Pritschet, who was first elected to the council in 2012 and is in the middle of his second term.
"It's been an honor being council president for two years, and I'm sure Gabe's going to do a wonderful, wonderful job," Pritschet said Monday.
As council president, Johnson will run each meeting and assign other council members to serve on either the safety and public works committee or the personnel and finance committee.
Fellow council veteran Sue Hilgart, alderman at-large, will retain her seat as council vice president. Hilgart, who would serve as president in Johnson's absence, won a second council term in 2018 after her opponent dropped out before the election.
Hilgart nominated Johnson for the president position, and council member Kelly Bevans seconded the motion, with all council members agreeing. Council member Jan Lambert, in turn, nominated Hilgart for the vice president position, with council member Kevin Stunek adding the second, and the rest of council unanimously agreeing.
Hilgart and Johnson, along with veteran council member Bevans and returning Mayor Ed Menk, were sworn in during Monday's meeting. Both Bevans and Menk ran unopposed.
In other business Monday, the council:
Made the following appointments for 2019: Paul Sandy, city engineer; Joseph Langel, city attorney; Brainerd Dispatch, official newspaper.
Approved several banks as city depositories for 2019: Bremer Bank, Wells Fargo, BlackRidge Bank, US Bancorp, Deerwood Bank, Neighborhood National Bank, Frandsen Bank and Trust, RiverWood Bank, RBC Capital Markets LLC, 4M Money Market, and PMA Financial Network Inc.
Accepted the resignation of community service officer Tyler Lenz, effective Dec. 26, and authorized the police department to make a conditional job offer to Lucas Caturia, contingent on successful completion of the pre-employment screening process, with a starting date of Jan. 8 or shortly thereafter. Caturia is a Central Lakes College law enforcement student.
Accepted the resignation of police officer Justin Athman. The council directed the police and fire civil service commission to meet and certify the next three names on the police department's eligibility list.
Authorized the chairman or vice chairman of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission to be the representative of the city of Brainerd and to sign any and all documents relating to the 2019 capital projects of the airport and any amendments that may arise.
Authorized a lease agreement with Rep. Pete Stauber for office space in city hall for $200 a month. Former Rep. Rick Nolan previously leased the space, as 8th Congressional District representatives have for decades.
Approved an easement agreement with Essentia Health to allow a portion of a sign and traffic island serving Essentia Health's property at 2019 S Sixth St. to remain despite encroachment onto the city's right of way. The easement will be in effect until the city's right of way is widened to an extent that the encroachments would interfere with the road.