Fredonia officials sworn in

OBSERVER Photos by M.J. Stafford Fredonia Trustee Paul Wandel, right, takes his oath of office from Mayor Michael Ferguson on Monday at the Fredonia Opera House.

Fredonia’s new mayor and three trustees were sworn in at the Opera House on Monday morning, in an event filled with references to faith, family and community.

Michael Ferguson was sworn in as mayor.

Paul Wandel, Ben Brauchler and Jon Espersen took oaths of office to begin trustee terms.

The Rev. Jim LaBarr of Harvest Chapel United Methodist Church had opening remarks and led a prayer. “To start the new year, it’s a blessing to gather with optimism, with gratitude and with hope for what lies ahead,” he said.

He prayed to God for the community and that Fredonia’s government officials will do a good, honest job, with “no selfish desire for power.”

Village Justice Nancy Dietzen administered the oath to Ferguson.

“First I want to thank my Lord and savior for this opportunity,” he said.

Ferguson also thanked his wife, Diane; his sons and daughters and their families, including his grandchildren; Greg Krauza, who assisted his campaign and emceed the ceremonies; and outgoing Mayor Douglas Essek and Trustees James Lynden and David Bird.

Ferguson called for “open communication and open arms” in Village Hall. “We are not here as kings and queens, we are here as servants of our community,” he said. Voicing respect for police, fire, Department of Public Works and Village Hall employees, he called them “all equally important to the success and progress of this community.”

Ferguson promised to “continue to fan the flames of community pride and faith in government.”

He said he will seek help from state officials at the next New York Conference of Mayors on three big issues for Fredonia: construction of a new Brooks-TLC Hospital, the water system, and SUNY Fredonia.

“We promise to work hard to make you proud of the government of the village of Fredonia,” Ferguson concluded.

Fredonia’s new mayor then administered oaths to Wandel and Brauchler, who won election in November, and Espersen, who was re-elected.

Wandel said of running for office: “I thought about it, I prayed about it, and thought maybe I should try.”

Wandel ran because he feels everyone should do community service, “and I really care about us (the Fredonia community)… if we work together as a team, we can accomplish great things.”

Espersen commented, “God put me here for some reason I haven’t figured out yet. I hope and pray the new board works cohesively.” He added, “We need to hear from the residents of Fredonia what you want,” inviting them to contact village officials.

Ferguson made closing remarks, asking and receiving applause for those who serve Fredonia. He quoted Proverbs: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

He said, “We will progress forward and do it in an intelligent and cooperative way.” Ferguson then asked yet again for support from people who help to make Fredonia a better place to live.


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