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New city commissioners sworn in

November 14, 2012
By KYLE WHITNEY - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - The city of Marquette's newest mayor should be more than comfortable in the commission chambers.

Johnny DePetro, elected mayor Tuesday by a vote of his fellow commissioners, is entering his eighth year on the Marquette City Commission.

Also on Tuesday, commissioner Robert Niemi was elected as mayor pro tem, a post that had been held by DePetro since 2008.

Article Photos

New Marquette city commissioners Mike Coyne, left, and Sara Cambensy take the oath of office administered by city clerk Dave Bleau during the commission’s organizational meeting Tuesday. Both were elected earlier this month to serve three-year terms on the board. (Journal photo by Kyle Whitney)

During the group's annual organizational meeting, the panel also welcomed two new commissioners into the fold as Sara Cambensy, a former city planning commissioner, and Mike Coyne, a former city commissioner and mayor, took their seats on the panel.

Fellow commissioners said they had high hopes for Cambensy and Coyne. Niemi said the pair's familiarity with the new city charter - both were members of the city charter commission - will help the city commission to ready for the document's implementation beginning in January of 2013.

Commissioner Jason Schneider referred to Cambensy's youth, saying he was happy to see a slight shift in the composition of the commission.

"I think the change and the new blood is really good, particularly because I am no longer the only person in my 30s on this board, and I appreciate that," he said. "It's pulling the commission one step closer to representing the demographics that exist in the community that we live in."

Just minutes after being named mayor, DePetro thanked his fellow commissioners and said he was already looking ahead to the coming year. It would be imperative, he said, for the city to work with state and federal authorities to protect revenue sharing with local municipalities.

"I know we've got a lot of work ahead of us," he said. "We've got a lot of things in place that are going to be positive in 2013, but there are many uncertainties at this time."

Departing commissioner John Kivela opened the meeting as mayor and shared parting comments before vacating his seat and joining the audience.

Kivela, who had served six years on the commission and four as mayor following a time on the city Board of Zoning Appeals, thanked family, friends and residents, as well as city staff and elected officials, both past and present.

"I really want to thank the group I'm serving with today," he said. "This is an incredible group of people with different backgrounds and different mindsets, and we all seem to pull together in a common direction."

Last week, Kivela was elected to a two-year term in the Michigan House of Representatives, representing the state's 109th District.

"This for me concludes 12 years of service. It has been wonderful," he said. "Thank you."

The other departing commissioner was David Saint-Onge, who had spent three years on the commission and was not present Tuesday. Including the organizational meeting, Saint-Onge was not present at four of his last five meetings as commissioner.

In other business, the commission approved a meeting schedule for 2013.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.



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