It’s official: Daniel Rhines is the final member of the Williamston City Council, as determined Feb. 26 by the council.
He was sworn in after the council meeting, and now, the Williamston City Council has all seven of its members.
“Feels good,” Rhines said. “I hope that I can do well for the city and be worth the confidence the board placed in me by picking me.”
As Mayor Tammy Gilroy and the city council moved to its action items on the agenda, the decision to appoint the new council member came swiftly.
Council member Jeffrey Weiss motioned to appoint Rhines, then moments later, council member John Bisard — the newest addition to council himself — seconded the motion. And just like that, Rhines was selected to the city council.
“This was the second opening that I had applied for,” Rhines said. “The first one, it went pretty quickly. It surprised me when I saw the first one go, but then I kind of figured that would be the way it went tonight.”
Rhines wasn’t selected in that first go, with the position instead going to Bisard. However, it was that “tenacity” of Rhines that Weiss said he appreciated.
“I guess it’s that ‘want to be involved’ aspect,” Weiss said. “We filled the first seat with councilman Bisard, and he came back and applied again. And I guess I liked that tenacity, that he felt so strongly that he should come back and keep pursuing it. And that was a real positive for me.”
Weiss described the decision as challenging, pointing out that the other two applicants — Paula Curtis and Stephen Bartig — were also noteworthy and qualified. By the end of it, though, the council member said Rhines’ involvement within Williamston stood out to the council.
“I liked Mr. Rhines because his kids are part of the community,” Weiss said. “He’s been involved within the community with jubilee, with the scouts and different things. It’s that involvement within the community that I like when I reviewed his application.”
Gilroy again reiterated to the crowd at the council meeting that she will be reaching out to the other two applicants for open board positions.
During council comments near the end of the meeting Monday, Bisard thanked the applicants who ran for city council. He also recommended getting a start in a municipality through the board positions, pointing out that he got his own beginning in a similar manner.
“(The applicants) were all very qualified, all very community-driven,” Gilroy said. “So I would’ve been happy or excited with any of the three candidates. I think Dan will bring a new perspective just because he’s very active in the community.”
Now, the Williamston City Council is full again after changes and elections over the past several months.
“I’m very excited to have a full city council again,” Gilroy said. “It’s exciting to have three new members, again, they bring new perspective, new vision. I’m excited to see what they will bring to the table in our discussions.”
Weiss and Bisard are the two most recent council members who joined, though Weiss was appointed through the election process.
In the past, Rhines said he would catch city council meetings on TV, unless he had a pressing issue or comment he wanted to make. Though now he’ll be expected to attend every meeting with the public interest in mind.
Weiss, though, said if there was any advice he would give to Rhines, it’s that he should do all of his homework — and then some.
“The advice is to do your research before each council meeting,” Weiss said. “We get the council packets. I really do spend a lot of time going over each agenda item. And not only looking at the agenda itself, but doing the research.”
Those council packets are giving to council members the Thursday evening before the typical Monday meeting, giving them a few days to review its content.
Gilroy said that if there might be any questions that arise, they can ask the city manager, or the individual who puts the packets together, the city clerk.
“It’s an open-door policy really with our staff members,” Gilroy said. “If there’s a question, they definitely should ask so they have a clear understanding of it so that they know what they’re doing when they sit up here and take action on motions.”
For now, Rhines said he wasn’t sure what exactly to expect now that it’s official.
“I’m just kind of jumping in feet first and we’ll see what happens,” Rhines said.