We are just friends and neighbors here in Keizer. We are not prententious and uppity. We like things simple and straight-forward. Even our biggest events lean toward the folksy and casual. Which is why it’s not surprising that the swearing in of new city councils and a mayor is a low key affair.
Becoming an elected official is no small feat. Serving as a city councilor may well be the pinnacle of one’s political and public service career. We would like to see the swearing in of our neighbors draped with more ceremony than was exhibited at Monday’s council meeting in which three new councilors took the oath and Lore Christopher took the mayoral oath for the seventh time.
We hoped to see a honor guard present the colors to open the council meeting. We had hoped to see Keizer students offering an inpirational musical piece that underlined the importance of the ceremonies. We didn’t see any of that.
New Councilor Ken LeDuc set the right tone when he had his family stand behind him as he took the oath of office from City Attorney Shannon Johnson. The tableau of his family underscored what is important here in Keizer: public service and family.
The two out going councilors who were present Monday night, Mark Caillier and Brandon Smith, spoke briefly about their tenure, offering gratitude to a city staff, among others, who are the foundation on which the council’s actions rest.
A swearing in ceremony is the place for new officials to speak about what they want to accomplish. Until they say “…so help me God,” they are private citizens with no ability to formulate city policy. Once on the dais, behind their new nameplates, we would like to have heard from Dennis Koho, Ken LeDuc, Marlene Quinn and Mayor Christopher. Sure, they’ll all have time to talk over the next two and four years, but Monday was their night to shine.
The new people sworn in on Monday enter an exclusive club: they join just 33 others who have ever been sworn in as mayor or councilor. That calls for something special, something more ceremonial than what we saw Monday. —LAZ