Larry Koochel, Janet Willimon, and Bob Carlile take the oath of office Tuesday evening prior to the Liberal City Commission meeting. The new commission is now made up of Willimon, Carlile, Koochel, Joe Denoyer and Tim Long. Dave Harrison stepped down after failing to be re-elected after one term in office. L&T photo/Jessica Crawford
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Leader & Times
Emotions ran bittersweet during Tuesday evening’s Liberal City Commission meeting as the commission and city staff said goodbye to one commissioner, then welcomed another.
Commissioner Dave Harrison was recognized for his four years of service as a city commissioner. He was awarded with a plaque, coins and a patch by Liberal Police Chief Al Sill. He was also presented with a plaque by Mayor Tim Long as a sign of appreciation from Harrison’s fellow commissioners.
“On behalf of the Liberal Police Department, we would like to present this award for your dedication to the City of Liberal and unwavering support to the Liberal Police Department,” Sill said.
“On behalf of the city commission of Liberal, I thank you for the two years I served with you,” Mayor Tim Long said as he stood before the commission to recognize Harrison. “Some of these guys have had four years with you. I would like to express my appreciation for everything you have done for this city and the services you have given.”
Harrison graciously accepted the praise of city staff and his fellow commissioners as he said a few words to the audience. Following his statement, Harrison shook hands with all present at the meeting, as he thanked them for four years of support.
“I appreciate every one of you guys, I enjoyed it,” Harrison said. “It hasn’t always been fun, but we made it. I think the city is in better shape than what it was when we started. I think we are heading in a new direction, I think Janet (Willimon) will be an awesome commissioner. Staff, I can’t say enough – I will always cherish the employees, I will miss you.”
Following Harrison’s farewell, Commissioners Larry Koochel and Bob Carlile were sworn in, along with new Commissioner, Janet Willimon.
During the reorganization of the commission, Koochel made a motion to retain Tim Long as Mayor of the City of Liberal. The motion received a second from Carlile. The motion passed with four commissioners in favor and Long abstaining.
“Tim, I nominated you because I think as a first-year mayor you have done an outstanding job,” Koochel said. “I think we need another year of you.”
Carlile moved to keep Joe Denoyer as Vice Mayor of the City of Liberal. Koochel gave the motion a second. The commission again approved the motion, with Denoyer abstaining.
Willimon thanked the commission for their support and added she would be doing a lot of listening in an effort to learn the ropes.
“I have been instructed to listen,” she said with a laugh. “I am really excited to earn the confidence of my fellow commissioners and I am excited about the job ahead of us. I like the direction the city is headed. So, I would like to thank you all and ask for your support and help. I need to listen a lot. I am excited about giving the women’s perspective. I do ask for your patience and cooperation.”
With the newly arranged Liberal City Commission in order, the group went on with official city business.