Mayor Chas Jones is sworn in by City Recorder Ruth Post during Monday night's event at City Hall. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Two years ago, the mayor and six city councilors that had been elected to serve Philomath raised their right hands and were sworn in during a COVID-dictated outside ceremony under a local school’s covered shelter.

On Monday night within the walls of City Hall — which a few months back revamped its look with new carpeting and seating configuration — the event took on a more ceremonious feel.

“This event is really for you and for your friends and family to be able to be here and celebrate,” City Manager Chris Workman said.

Starting with Mayor Chas Jones and continuing with councilors Matt Lehman, Ruth Causey, Jessica Andrade, Teresa Nielson, Christopher McMorran and Diane Crocker, City Recorder Ruth Post led them each through the oath of office.

The seven-person council has two new faces in Crocker and McMorran and also transitions into a new approach to staggered term lengths. Andrade, Lehman and Nielson were elected to four-year terms while Causey, Crocker and McMorran were elected for two years. Beginning with the 2024 election, the mayor’s term will increase from two to four years.

The 2023-24 Philomath City Council, from left, front, Christopher McMorran, Ruth Causey, Jessica Andrade, Matt Lehman; back, Diane Crocker, Chas Jones and Teresa Nielson. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

After the mayor and councilors became official, they gathered for photos and mingled with those in attendance until their first regular meeting together started.

Jones expressed his thanks to outgoing councilors Catherine Biscoe and David Low — both in attendance — along with those who have served on city boards and committees.

“The gift that you offer the city of your time is something that you can’t get back. It’s a very intentional choice for all of us,” Jones said. “I recognize that when we say yes to public service, when we say yes to serving our community, when we say yes to serving our city that we are saying no to an unlimited number of other opportunities.”

Christopher McMorran is sworn in by City Recorder Ruth Post. McMorran had the most votes in the November general election. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Jones also shared his appreciation for the city’s staff and for the families of those who work and volunteer with city government.

“The fact that you give up your time and that you allow us the freedom to not be at home with our families … is something that also is a sacrifice,” he said. “So we’re really appreciative of all of those folks for those sacrifices and your gifts of being here with us tonight.”

Workman echoed many of those same thoughts during his remarks prior to the mayor and councilors being sworn in. He also shared Theodore Roosevelt’s “it is not the critic who counts” quote.

“There will be those who will criticize you, they will champion you in your successes and join you in taking credit and point the finger and condemn you when you make decisions that they may or may not agree with,” Workman said. “I commend you for taking that step and representing your community. It takes a brave soul and somebody who is really dedicated and just adores their community and wants to take that step and give back.”

Ruth Causey, seen here shaking hands with City Recorder Ruth Post after being sworn in, was later chosen to serve as council president. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Workman said city staff will be there to help along the way.

“You’ll know what success looks like after a couple of years of your term,” Workman said. “You’ll be able to look back and see those little moments amongst all of the gray; you’ll see those high points where we were able to have success, where as a council, you were able to come together, take on a difficult task and come out ahead for what was best for the entire community.”

Following the ceremony, the new council sat down for a meeting that lasted four hours.

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

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