New Fraser council members sworn in

Council also approves new acting mayor, mayor pro tem

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published November 24, 2015

File photo by Erin Sanchez

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FRASER — A new era in Fraser politics is officially underway.

On Nov. 16, Mayor Joe Nichols and the newly elected members of the Fraser City Council — Michael Lesich, Patrice Schornak, Yvette Foster and Kathy Blanke — were sworn in by three local judges.

The special meeting at City Hall began with an introduction by the Fraser Honor Guard.

Nichols’ swearing-in took place first, and was conducted by 39th District Court Judge Marco Santia.

Santia first lauded the new City Council, as well as recognized former council members who shaped the city.

Then, he talked about Fraser’s new mayor. He said he was honored and privileged to be asked to conduct the swearing-in, and offered congratulations to Nichols’ family after a tumultuous election cycle.

“I met Joe on my porch about a month and a half ago,” Santia said. “When I first met him, I knew he had a great chance because he was going door to door, and I think that’s essential in cities like Fraser.”

Judge Catherine Steenland of the 39th District Court then swore in four-year council members Schornak, Foster and Blanke after offering her own kind words and backstory for each candidate.

Judge Suzanne Faunce of the 37th District Court proceeded to swear in the final elected official, Michael Lesich, who will fill former Councilman William Morelli’s seat for a two-year term.

After applause by the full house at City Hall, Nichols congratulated his fellow elected officials and thanked city officials and former council members for their service.

“I’m excited about what the next four years is going to bring us,” said Nichols, who was sitting in the mayoral chair for the first time. “I hope it brings us a body that represents the people with privilege. I hope we’re all keeping that in our hearts and our minds when we sit down at every council meeting.”

The council also voted to name a new mayor pro tem and acting mayor.

“The motion I would like to make for mayor pro tem, because of all of his years of service and the much respect I have for him, is Mike Carnagie,” Nichols said. The council unanimously approved.

The acting mayor role, which was a role initially introduced for Morelli, was unanimously approved by council to transfer to Councilman Matt Hemelberg. Morelli’s wife, Angie, was present and expressed her husband’s satisfaction that a full council is once again a reality in the city.

After Nichols acknowledged members of the Fraser Department of Public Safety, including Chief George Rouhib, he said the current council’s actions “won’t always be balloons and roses” but he hopes they all achieve a common goal.

“Whether it is difficult or not difficult, the main thing is, we need to be respectful and we need to be ethical and we need to find an end road to move the city forward, because if we don’t put one foot in front of the other, we stand still,” he said. “And if we stand still, your city can’t progress.”

He continued by saying that residents have so many things in the city to be grateful for, including the DPS and public parks.

Minister Robert Brannon closed the ceremony with a prayer.

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