When the Sitka Assembly met Tuesday night (10-13-20), it held a ‘changing of the guard’– recognizing outgoing assembly members, and certifying the results from last week’s municipal election.

The results from the October 6 municipal election were certified and new members were sworn in when the Sitka Assembly met on Tuesday (10-14-20).

But first, the group honored outgoing Mayor Gary Paxton and assembly member Richard Wein with service awards. Wein, who has served on the assembly since 2017, did not seek re-election this year. 

“I would like to thank everyone in Sitka for their kindness and patience,” he said. “For those individuals who thought I did a good job, I’d like to say thank you. For those who were not so sure, I apologize, but I did try my best. And for those who really thought I didn’t do well at all, I ask for your forgiveness. Because, it’s a lot more work than you imagine.” 

A longtime surgeon, Wein said moving forward, he plans to pick up a reporter’s notebook, instead of a scalpel. 

“And what I intend to do, or will try to do, is to dust off my journalism degree, because believe it or not, I do have a master’s in journalism, and I will try to serve in a different way,” he said.

Gary Paxton served for two years as Sitka’s mayor, overseeing the finalization of the Sitka Community Hospital sale and the hiring of a new city administrator. A former city administrator himself, Paxton ran for reelection this year, but was defeated by Steven Eisenbeisz. After receiving his service award, he offered just a few words.

“Dr. Wein is indefatigable. I appreciate all the work you did for commissions,” Paxton thanked Wein.

“Last comment, I’m a soldier not a politician. God Bless you all.”

After the assembly honored Wein and Paxton, the new members, Crystal Duncan and Rebecca Himschoot, and Sitka’s new mayor, Steven Eisenbeisz, took their oaths of office. And municipal clerk Sara Peterson took a moment to thank all of the volunteers and staff who worked long and busy hours at the polls.   

“They did a phenomenal job during an unprecedented time and I am extremely appreciative for their help,” she said.

In the end, 3312 votes were counted in the 2020 municipal election, making it the second highest voter turnout for a city election in the last two decades, with over half of the votes cast early or absentee.

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