Woodward, Okla. —
Woodward has a new mayor.
Commissioner Gary Goetzinger took over the reins of the Woodward City Commission on Monday night after being unanimously approved for the new position by his fellow commissioners.
His predecessor Roscoe Hill was selected to now serve as mayor pro tem.
While eagerly accepting the new position, Goetzinger did note that it will be an adjustment.
"I'm going to have to get used to it," he said as he took the center seat on the commission's dais which is reserved for the mayor.
Hill promised to assist Goetzinger in any way that he could, saying help was only a phone call away.
"You have my number," he told the new mayor.
Also on Monday, both Hill and Michelle Williamson were sworn into office following their recent reelection to the Ward 1 and Ward 4 commission seats.
As one of his first acts as mayor, Goetzinger presented certificates of commendation from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management to City Manager Alan Riffel and Assistant City Manager/City Finance Officer Doug Haines.
The certificates were signed by both Gov. Mary Fallin and state Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood. But Goetzinger told Riffel and Haines that the recognition was really "from your employees," who recommended them for the commendations.
The new mayor then read a brief speech extolling both Riffel's and Haines' efforts prior to, during and after the April 15, 2012 tornado.
He said the organizational re-structuring by Riffel and the financial planning by Haines helped to prepare the city so that it was able to respond effectively to the disaster.
Goetzinger said Riffel's "management structure fit in well with the organization of such a chaotic event, and allowed for more efficient and effective recovery work as Woodward quickly began the process of mending, healing and cleaning up."
He then said Haines' "financial preparation for the City of Woodward in the years before the tornado" helped to ensure that there were reserve funds that along with "solid budgeting and careful recovery expenditure monitoring, ensured that city departments could continue to function without undue financial hardship" following the storm.
Goetzinger said the commendations were in recognition for both men's many long hours and hard work behind the scenes which demonstrated "their inspiring, authentic dedication to our community."