Feb 5, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterThe Riverton City Council seated two new members Tuesday night during it regular meeting.
Kyle Larson in Ward 1 and Martin Cannan in Ward 3 were voted in by the other council members and Mayor Ron Warpness.
Six candidates were interviewed for 10 minutes each and, after an executive session, the council and mayor made their selections on a paper ballot.
Both Larson and Cannan took the oath of office immediately and took their seats beside the mayor and council member Mary Ellen Christensen.
The competition was small for Ward 3 as former council member Lars Baker was considered with Martin Cannan. Baker resigned in late December after serving seven years on the council, having been re-elected in 2012.
He determined that he had to resign from the seat in December in order to comply with a regulation from the Wyoming State Retirement system. Baker recently retired from the Fremont County Weed and Pest District after 38 years. In order to receive full retirement benefits from the county job he had to sever all ties to any and all entities also covered by the state retirement system -- which included the council position.
He needed to serve a 30-day separation from the council, then would be eligible for reappointment. In December he said he would stand for reappointment, and many had expected his return to the council.
In his interview in front of the council and mayor, Baker laid out his educational background, previous job experience in law enforcement and with the county weed and pest district.
"State law required me to do that, and I didn't like it," Baker said to the council regarding the resignation from the council. "So, I'm here to reapply for my seat to see if I can get back on the council and at least finish out my term."
But the ballots Tuesday were not sufficient to return Baker to the Ward 3 seat. Five ballots were cast. The final tally was not made public.
In an interview Wednesday morning, Baker said he was disappointed he wasn't chosen.
"I was elected to the position, (and) I thought maybe the council would honor that," Baker said. "I enjoyed being on the council... I liked to serve."
As for running again for the seat in the next election, Baker said he didn't know now if he would jump in the race.
"I'll have to see where my heart is at the time," he said. "Maybe I'll still have an interest."
Baker said the learning experience of council service is beneficial for anyone who serves the city.
"Rotating that job around does give people a different perspective," Baker said. "It does give people the opportunity to see what's going on in the community."
In his 10-minute interview, Martin Cannan said the 27 years of his military career prepared and trained him for the accountability and discipline that he would need to help govern Riverton and service constituents.
Cannan retired from the Air Force in 2003 and settled in Riverton where he worked as a correctional officer at the Wyoming Honor Farm. He is working as a security officer at the social security office in Riverton.
He said he was interested in serving on council because Riverton could improve and become a better place to live.
"I think the city council is the place to kick start that, and I just want to be a part of that process," Cannan said. "(Residents) elect officials that they put their trust in to look over their best interest."
When asked what issue or project the council should address, he pinpointed Riverton youth as a critical piece of the community that needed extra attention. He suggested more activities for young people.
Kyle Larson was chosen to represent Ward 1. In his interview he predicted that Riverton would receive a "rather large influx of people" due to natural gas production, and the city would have to prepare for that.
"We're going to need to make sure the water, roads, safety are all at the forefront," Larson said, adding that maintaining the standard of living would allow residents to live in the community they love.
As a mortgage broker, he said, he works with many people and said communication, honesty and transparency would be important while serving on the council.
Both Larson and Cannan thanked the council and mayor for the opportunity to serve on the council and agreed they would do their best to catch up on meeting protocol, issues, and the overall duties of the council.
"You've made our decision very difficult," Mayor Ron Warpness said to the candidates.
He encouraged Betty Malicki, Waylon Oldman, Phil Lavoie, and Lars Baker to run in future elections if they still had an interest in serving on the council.
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