JEROME – Alex Barber was appointed Mayor of Jerome by an almost entirely new council Tuesday.
Barber, now in her third term, was the top vote-getter in the August primary by just one vote. Town tradition typically appoints the person with the most votes as mayor, according to town manager Candace Gallagher.
During a candidate’s forum in July, Barber said she was born in Jerome on a cold January morning in the Gulch, in a home that former Jerome dentist Lee Hawkins built. Barber still lives in that house, she said in council chambers Tuesday.
Mandy Worth, Jack Dillenberg and Sage Harvey were also sworn in Tuesday, making Jerome’s current council comprised almost entirely of new members.
The new council appointed Barber as mayor and Harvey as vice mayor.
Advice from outgoing members
Former Mayor Frank Vander Horst, Vice Mayor Jay Kinsella and Council Member Lew Currier gave closing remarks before stepping down from the dais for the last time.
Vander Horst, who said he was battling cancer during his term, thanked council for their patience.
Kinsella congratulated the new council and thanked town staff for years of “incredible service.”
He also cautioned new members of changes he’s noticed in Jerome.
“You can’t have a conversation with your neighbor anymore,” he said.
Kinsella said the trend is not exclusive to Jerome, rather the nation as a whole amid political division.
“We need to listen to others and not condemn them before they are heard,” he said.
Currier advised the new council pay attention to the audience.
“Assembly is the basis of what’s going on,” he said. “Treat them with respect, even when you’re sure they’re nuts.”
Empty council seat
The new council decided to table filling the empty council seat left by Hunter Bachrach and schedule a special meeting.
Bachrach was elected to serve a second term during the August primary but resigned due to “personal reasons.”
Harvey initially motioned to appoint former Jerome Mayor Jane Moore but Dillenberg suggested council call a special meeting to fill the empty seat. Dillenberg also wanted time to let the public speak.
Former Jerome Mayor Nikki Check also threw her hat in the ring as well as Alissa Kueker and 26-year-old Tyler Christensen.
Members of the public rallied in favor of both Moore and Christensen.
Christensen noted that his age may be a deterring factor, but said he is “absolutely capable of the challenge.”
“I want the burden, I would be honored to serve,” he said.
A special meeting has been set for Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 6:00 p.m. to determine who will fill the vacant council seat.
Jerome Town Council will have its next regular meeting on Tuesday Dec. 11, at 7 p.m., at the Jerome Civic Center at 600 Clark St., Jerome. Agendas and minutes are posted on the town’s website at www.jerome.az.gov.