Three new assembly members were sworn in Tuesday night during the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.
Tyson Cox, Jesse Bjorkman and Brent Johnson will take their seats on the assembly at the next meeting, Oct. 22.
Cox will be representing the Soldotna area. Bjorkman will represent the Nikiski area. Brent Johnson will represent Kasilof area south to Happy Valley.
Assembly President Wayne Ogle, Vice President Dale Bagley and assembly member Paul Fischer said farewell to their public office at Tuesday’s assembly meeting. The three assembly members stepped down from their public posts.
“I want to give a special thank you to Mr. Ogle, Mr. Bagley and Mr. Fischer for their years of public service,” Mayor Charlie Pierce said at Tuesday’s meeting. “I truly do hope we continue to see you and hear your inputs.”
Fischer has served on the assembly for a number of years, including as the body’s president. He told the assembly and the audience a story of his most memorable meeting, where the assembly stayed up all night to pick a new assembly president.
Fischer said there were 16 members on the assembly at the time, with half representing areas within the city and half outside of the city. The vote for a new president continued to draw a tie.
“It was always coming back a tie, a tie, a tie,” Fischer said at Tuesday’s meeting. “By 7 a.m., we were all getting tired. Thanks to Seward, their representative chickened out. He was in the city, so we got an outside-the-city president of the assembly.”
Bagley, who has served on the assembly and as borough mayor in years past, thanked borough employees and fellow assembly members for their help during his public service experience.
“I’m sure I’ll be back here to testify at assembly meetings, to tell the assembly and mayor all the things they’re doing wrong — or maybe I won’t,” Bagley said at Tuesday’s meeting.
Ogle thanked his constituents for trusting him to do the job of the assembly member for two terms.
“I’d like to thank the people of Nikiski and Salamatof for having the confidence and trust in me for six years, enabling me to represent them,” Ogle said. “I really, deeply appreciate that.”
During their closing remarks, assembly members said their goodbyes to Ogle, Fischer and Bagley.
“It’s been very educational for me to learn from all of you about our civic duty here as assembly members,” assembly member Willy Dunne said at Tuesday’s meeting. “Although we often disagree on things, I appreciate the ability to discuss in a civil way what’s best for the borough.”
“Thank you to the three of you, and for all of your wisdom, unique approach and sense of humor,” assembly member Kelly Cooper said at Tuesday’s meeting.
During his closing comments, Ogle said that he’s a fan of term limits. He said he’s happy to see a new member take his seat on the assembly. After an assembly member has served two terms, they must wait a period of 180 days to run for another term.
“New people, new ideas, new energy — I think that’s a very good thing,” Ogle said.
Ogle, like each of the assembly members, congratulated the newly elected members.
“You’ve got some very challenging, and I think some very interesting topics that are coming up — public issues that will take all of your brain power and wisdom to come to a good resolution on,” he said.