WASHINGTON — There was a historic changing of the guard Monday at the City Council meeting.
New aldermen Randall Black, Lilija Stevens and Todd Yoder and re-elected Alderman Dave Dingledine were sworn in by City Clerk Pat Brown.
They were elected in April in the city's first nonpartisan city election since at least the beginning of the 20th century. Additionally, for the first time in more than 50 years, there were contested races in all four of the city's wards.
Washington voters approved a change from partisan to nonpartisan city elections in 2018 after Stevens led a petition drive that put the issue on the ballot.
Departing aldermen Jim Gee, Bob Brucks and Carol Moss were presented plaques by Mayor Gary Manier.
Gee, who had served on the City Council since 1998, and Brucks, who had served since 2002, did not run for re-election. Moss joined the City Council in 2010 after serving as Washington city clerk for 24 years. She was defeated by Yoder in the April election. The trio has a combined 82 years of service to Washington in multiple positions.
Dingledine thanked the departing aldermen.
"You've dedicated many years to our wonderful city and made a huge impact," he said. "Your replacements have big shoes to fill, but I feel they're up to the challenge."
Brucks said being an alderman is a tough job.
"You're the connection between residents who have needs and city staff who have limited resources to respond to those needs," he said.
Moss said she found it easier to serve as city clerk than as an alderman.
Alderman Mike Brownfield, who was re-appointed mayor pro tem, said to the new aldermen, "It doesn't matter how we got here. We're here, and we're a team."
Each alderman was appointed to one of the City Council's standing committees that discuss issues before they're brought to a full City Council meeting.
Manier is chairman of the finance and personnel committee that also includes Alderman Daniel Cobb and Yoder. Brownfield remains chairman of the public works committee that also includes Stevens and Dingledine. Alderman Brian Butler remains chairman of the public safety committee that also includes Alderman Brett Adams and Black.
The former City Council took care of some business before its final meeting was adjourned.
Among its votes was the approval of several changes to the city's ordinance that regulates the open burning of landscape waste. The major change is allowing burning only from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. October through May instead of year-round.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.