Who’s the mayor of Winnebago? That may be a matter of interpretation, for now.
City Administrator Chris Ziegler gave the oath of office to incumbents Rick Johnson and Jean Anderson and newcomer Paul Eisenmenger.
Jeremiah Schutt, who was re-elected to another two-year term, however, was not able to attend Tuesday night’s meeting due to illness.
Ziegler says Schutt will be given the oath at the next City Council meeting, which is scheduled for Feb. 14.
Johnson, who is the senior council member, conducted the meeting in Schutt’s absence and is the acting-mayor whenever he is not available.
City Attorney David Frundt says although Schutt has not taken the oath, he believes Schutt still has the authority to serve as mayor.
“I have never has this issue occur before, so I have not researched it,” says Frundt. “Mayor Schutt does not need to take the oath at a public meeting.”
According to the League of Minnesota Cities handbook, the candidate qualifying for office must take the oath and sign a copy of the oath in the presence of the administering offical.
“It (the oath) can be administered at any time by a city official, but is usually done at a public event for publicity,” says Frundt.
The League handbook says, “public officials must take and sign an oath of office before exercising any of their powers.”
Johnson and Anderson were elected to four-year terms, while Eisenmenger will serve two years.
And, Johnson may unknowingly be serving as mayor.