Fast track set of Callahan

Newly Appointed Ward 3 City Councilor Ann Callahan will be sworn into office at the June 7 council session. Unless, that is, she is already sworn into office.
Callahan was appointed by the City Council at its May 17 session to complete the term of eight-year council veteran Peter J. Miller Jr., who resigned on April 30.
There was confusion Friday pertaining to the swearing-in process with the City Council preparing for one process, and City Clerk Karen Fanion stating that the council process is not needed and that she has already sworn Callahan into office
Council members said that Callahan cannot take the oath of office until the council votes to accept the minutes of the May 17 meeting and those minutes are signed by Mayor Daniel M. Knapik. That process, described by Council President Christopher Keefe following the May 17 session, was reported in the Westfield News (May 18) and other local print media.
However, City Clerk Karen Fanion said Friday morning that the process is not needed and that she swore Callahan into office Wednesday, May 23.
“I have no idea where (the council) got that process from, we have never done it that way, ever,” Fanion said. “I talked with Sue (Phillips) in the Law Department who said I could swear (Callahan) into office. The mayor has already signed the May 17 minutes, which is the way we always do that, then I present the minutes to the council for their vote to accept or amend.”
Ward 2 Councilor James E. Brown Jr., said Friday morning that he requested Knapik to attend the council session to expedite Callahan’s swearing-in process because she has been assigned to that committee in the reorganization announced by Council President Christopher Keefe.
Brown said, after being informed of Fanion’s action, he will welcome Callahan to the June 4 L&O session.
“I’ll have a seat at the table for her,” he said.
Knapik said Friday that he may not be available for the council meeting because of a prior commitment of his office.
“That’s the night of the Voc-Tech (Westfield Vocational Technical High School) graduation, which starts at 7 p.m., the same as the council meeting,” Knapik said. “I hand out the diplomas, so I’ll have to work something out with the council.”
Keefe said Friday morning that he would check with Fanion and Phillips to confirm the process of Callahan’s swearing-in process, but may conduct a second swearing-in ceremony during the June 7 council meeting.
“It would be nice to have something more formal,” Keefe said. “I spoke with the Mayor (Friday) morning and asked him if he could be available right at the beginning of the meeting. The agenda is set by the council rules, so it’s the pledge of allegiance, followed by the vote on the minutes. Dan (Knapik) could sign the minutes and shake Ann’s hand after she’s sworn into office.”
Callahan said this morning that she is preparing to “hit the ground running.”
“They’re starting to include me in the email chain of meeting notices,” she said. “I’m trying to absorb everything. They’re starting the budget meetings next week, so I plan to attend those meetings just to see how it works, what questions they ask.”
“It’s a tricky time of year to be starting, during the budget review process, but I hope to learn a lot, too. It will be interesting,” Callahan said.

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