Belding has new mayor

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 1:40 pm on Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ron Gunderson

BELDING — In his final act as the mayor of Belding, Roger Wills picked up his gavel, placed it in front of Ron Gunderson and exclaimed, “Mr. Gunderson, you’re the mayor.”
The City Council unanimously voted Gunderson in as the new mayor Tuesday evening after Wills received no support for a second term.
“I wasn’t really expecting it, but I had some direction as far as people’s concerns and if I would take the position if I was nominated,” Gunderson said. “That was the only indication I had.”
All Belding councilmen are elected at large. The five councilmen elect a mayor from among themselves for each four-year term.
Wills and new councilman Joe Feuerstein were officially sworn in to new four-year terms on the council.
Wills submitted his own name for consideration after no one submitted a name. But no other council member seconded the motion for Wills as mayor, leading to his exit from the position.
Feuerstein submitted Gunderson’s name for consideration and Councilman Mike Scheid seconded that motion. The council then voted unanimously to elect Gunderson as the new mayor.
“This is an interesting transition,” Wills said. “We have five dedicated and passionate people here. I think we can move forward with Ron and I look forward to a lot of positive things happening in our city.”
Gunderson said the decision came as a little bit of a surprise to him.
“Right now I’m kind of in a shell-shocked state,” he said. “I want to thank Roger for being the mayor for the past two and a half years. By no means does this mean anything less. We are all equals. Thank you all for the position you’ve entrusted me with.”
Gunderson said his election as mayor will bring a few changes to the way things are handled by city council.
“As far as how things are run, I would like to allow City Hall to run City Hall and city council to direct the City Manager and have the department heads answer to him, rather than have a fear of the city council,” he said. “I feel I bring a more relaxed atmosphere and listen well, taking everything into consideration.”

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