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New year, new members, new president

The 2019 Red Wing City Council and Mayor Sean Dowse pose for a photo after their organizational meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8. They are (from left) Evan Brown, Dean Hove, Becky Norton, Sean Dowse, Laurel Stinson, John Becker, Erin Buss and Kim Beise. Rachel Fergus/ RiverTown Multimedia.

The Red Wing City Council finished its 2018 business and began 2019 on Tuesday, Jan. 8. This meeting included the swearing-in of members and voting for a new council president.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, the council said goodbye to Ralph Rauterkus. Rauterkus had served since the special election in August 2018. He had served on previous City Councils.

In a short address before taking a seat in the crowd, Rauterkus said, "I was thinking about what it means to be on the council. And often it is not things that are going to get done quickly, but often we're planting seeds."

When Rauterkus was done Hove told him, "I'd just like to say, Ralph, your attention to detail will be missed."

"I'm still watching," Rauterkus assured Hove and the other six members with a smile.

Council President Beise called the 2018 session closed and the 2019 organizational meeting open.

Before beginning the process of electing a new City Council president, the council debated whether to change the term length and to set a term limit. Council member John Becker originally opposed to any changes because, he explained, the council had not been given enough time to consider them. However, the other six members favored changes. The agreed-upon amendments are a one-year term instead of a two-year term for a member to serve as president and a limit of four consecutive years as president.

Before the vote, Becker told the council, "I'm cool with it. I think it's an improvement." The board voted unanimously in favor of the amendment to city rule.

Evan Brown nominated Dean Hove to serve as the president. Becker then nominated himself to serve as president. Becker explained that he has leadership experience from being a parent, a business owner and the leader of various organizations. Becker concluded his short pitch for the presidency by saying, "I am a square peg. No questions about it. And, God bless the square pegs because we need more square pegs out there. We really do."

Hove has been on the board for 16 years. In that time he has served as vice president for eight years and as president for two. Hove was once again elected president in a 5-2 vote. Becker and 2017-18 President Kim Beise voted for Becker.

After Hove took the gavel from Beise, Becky Norton nominated Brown for vice president. The board voted unanimously in favor. Brown then nominated Norton for president pro tem. The board again voted unanimously.

With no more items to discuss or vote upon, Hove closed the meeting by hitting the table with the gavel. Based on his reaction to the resounding sound, Hove will need to familiarize himself with the ideal amount of pressure to use when hitting the table.