Meritt’s new Mayor and Council were sworn in on Tuesday night, taking their oath of office during a ceremony and inaugural council meeting at City Hall. Roughly 50 attendees witnessed Mayor Mike Goetz, Councillors Adam Etchart, Claire Newman, Dana Egan, Manuel Olguin, Wendy Charney, and Paul Petroczi affirm their commitment to the community and their newly elected positions. The inauguration followed a highly contested election which saw only one incumbent retain a seat at the council table.
The inauguration ceremony started with a traditional hand drumming welcome song and an address from CAO Sean Smith, who then introduced Coldwater Indian Band Chief Lee Spahan. Spahan commented that he was looking forward to building a positive and productive relationship with the new Mayor and Council. The Hon. Judge Smith of Kamloops led the ceremony, beginning with the swearing in of Mayor Mike Goetz.
“Tonight you’ll notice I took my oath with my granddaughter’s hand in mine,” said Goetz, emotional in his first address as Mayor.
“I would never want to disappoint her, ever. I take the oath holding onto her hand, knowing that she inspires me. Family is strength for me, and my family is very strong.”
Following Goetz’s oath of office, all six councillors were sworn in. Each individual read and signed their oath of office in front of Judge Smith, who administered the oath. Following the swearing in ceremony, a brief inaugural council meeting was held. The new Mayor and Council appointed Mayor Goetz as Merritt’s TNRD director, with Councillor Newman as a backup. The council meeting schedule for the upcoming year was also passed.
After his inaugural address as Mayor, Goetz opened the floor to councillors, who echoed his hopes of a unified council and thanked the community for their support. The newly elected Mayor, who previously served 10 years as a councillor, said he was excited at the potential of his new council and reaffirmed the group’s commitment to Merrittonians.
“This council is exciting, I’m excited for every council member that’s here,” added Goetz.
“If you look at all of us, and our backgrounds, we cover all the aspects and spectrums that this City is looking for. The Mayor’s chair and the office is always open, anytime you need to talk to me, you talk to me. Same with council.”
The evening ended with a public reception at the Merritt Civic Centre, where community members had the opportunity to mingle with their newly elected representatives while enjoying light refreshments. Mayor, council members, and city staff were in attendance.
For more information on Merritt’s newly elected Mayor and council, visit www.merritt.ca/city-council/.