Michael Loutzenhiser has been sworn in as the new Ward 1 alderman for the city.
Loutzenhiser became the newest member of the City Council on the morning of Sept. 17, when he was sworn in at City Hall by Mayor Steve Zachmann in the lobby of the Fallon County Courthouse.
The City Council decided to appoint him at their Sept. 16 meeting.
After being sworn in, Loutzenhiser was able to be a full voting participant at the Sept. 23 special meeting of the city council to help fill the vacancy for the city public works director.
“The reason for the special meeting is to fill two vacancies in the Public Works Department,” the mayor explained Tuesday. “And it is to revisit the recommendation to hire the public works director.”
The decision to select the new director had been tabled by the council at its Sept. 16 meeting until there could be a full city council.
“The Wednesday meeting (Sept. 23) will also be to open up a hiring process. We will be addressing the two open positions and whether to fill one or two and to solicit for applications,” the mayor explained. The foreman and one of the hands in the department resigned, prompting the council to decide if they would fill both vacancies and how the process would be handled, Zachmann said.
The process is to solicit applications by advertisement. “When we get those, we will decide on a closing date for applications. We will select qualified applicants, interview and then make a recommendation to the council for the hire or hires,” the mayor added.
The vacancies would probably be addressed by the city by the middle of October at the earliest, he said
Loutzenhiser, who works for Griffith Steel in Baker, was chosen over one other candidate, with both getting a chance to speak at the Sept. 16 meeting in the Fallon County Courthouse.
A Baker resident who graduated from high school with the class of 1997, Loutzenhiser said he wanted to bring some fresh eyes to meeting the needs of his community after he got the appointment Sept. 16.
After graduation, he spent three years in the U.S. Army, stationed mostly at Ft. Carson in Colorado.
“I have lived in Baker for pretty much my whole life – 41 years,” he said after the meeting ended.
“I have had lots of ideas and I figured now was the time to implement it. I was going to put my name in the ring when the next position came open anyway.
“It just came sooner than I thought it was going to,” he added.
He admitted that one of his first jobs in the new position would be to help the city meet its budget. “They have some shortfalls in the budget. I have fresh eyes and can see if there is something that I spot, ask questions and see if there are things that we can change,” he explained.