Helena swears in newest council members, appoints new positions

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The Helena City Council will look a little different for the 2016-2020 term, as the incumbent City Council members, new City Council members and mayor were introduced during a Nov. 7 swearing-in ceremony at Helena City Hall.

Numerous family members and friends were on-hand for the ceremony as incumbent City Council members Leigh Hulsey, Mike Jones, Hal Woodman and Mayor Mark Hall were re-elected to serve another four years. The two newest members to join the City Council were Laura Joseph in Place 4 and Alice Lobell in Place 3.

“First of all I want to tell you that there’s no way I can tell you how excited I am to be here and I appreciate all of the support,” said Lobell. “Everybody that works with the city, it’s just great and I love this city and I can promise you this, I will do my best to be the best council person I can be.”

Joseph also thanked everyone for their support and said she is excited to get started.

“I too am very excited about the next four years and thank you to everyone for believing in all of us and that we would be able to do great things together and I appreciate that,” said Joseph. “I’m very much looking forward to it.”

In addition to swearing-in the newest City Council members, the city also announced appointed positions.

The appointed positions for 2016-2020 are as follows:

-Jones will serve as the new City Council president.

-Woodman will serve as the new City Council pro tempore.

-Amanda Traywick will return as the Helena city clerk/treasurer­.

-Hall will serve as the Helena Utility Board chairperson­.

-Pete Valenti will serve as the new Helena fire chief.

-Pete Folmar will return as Helena police chief.

-Victor Portella will serve as the municipal court judge.

Another portion of the City Council meeting included honoring outgoing City Council members Cris Nelson and Leslie Bartlett.

Hall presented Nelson and Bartlett with a key to the city and thanked them for their years of service as well as the time and effort they have given to Helena.

“I just wanted to say it’s been an honor to serve with you over the last four years and it’s been an honor to serve the city for the last eight and a half years,” said Nelson after receiving the award. “No one becomes mayor or council because of the money or the fame because there’s none. You have to have a servant’s heart in order to do this. I had that heart prior to and I’ll continue to be a servant of this city for many years to come.”