TWIN FALLS • Shawn Barigar is now mayor of Twin Falls.
The new City Council chose Barigar, who has been on the council since 2011 and previously from 2004 to 2007, 6-1. Suzanne Hawkins was the only other council member to express interest in the mayor’s job. She was the only vote against Barigar’s appointment.
Rather than being a separate elected position as it is in many other area communities, Twin Falls’ mayor is chosen by and from the Council members every two years. Both Hawkins and Barigar spoke briefly to their colleagues to make their pitch for the job before the vote.
Hawkins was vice mayor under Don Hall, whose two years in the job ended Monday. After the vote, Barigar reappointed Hawkins as vice mayor and the Council unanimously confirmed her.
Monday evening, the two new and two re-elected council members — Ruth Pierce, Nikki Boyd, Barigar and Chris Talkington — were sworn in for four-year terms. And outgoing council members Jim Munn and Rebecca Mills Sojka spoke briefly and were given plaques recognizing their service.
Munn, who didn’t run for re-election, said it had been an honor to serve the community on the Council.
“Politics is an acquired taste,” he said. “I didn’t really develop a palate for it.”
Boyd was elected to Munn’s former seat in a three-way race. Mills Sojka, who ran for re-election but lost to Pierce in another three-way race, said she is glad that city government is more transparent and modern than it was when she first took office in 2010.
“I’ve really counted this time as a privilege and a pleasure, and again, thank you to the citizens for this opportunity,” she said.
Hall, who has served two non-consecutive terms as mayor, said one of the highlights of his time in the chair was being mayor when longtime City Manager Tom Courtney retired and when current City Manager Travis Rothweiler was appointed. Hall also said it was “absolutely a privilege,” especially given his background as a former city police officer, to have been the mayor to swear in the city’s last three police chiefs. Hall said the economic development during his term — Clif Bar and Chobani moving to Twin Falls and developments downtown — was another highlight.
“There is no better feeling than to land a big business that is going to come in here and change our lives — change our citizens’ lives,” he said.
Hall advised the new Council members to come to meetings with an open mind. He advised his successor as mayor to keep the meetings running smoothly and not to seek two consecutive terms. He also said that, contrary to what some people think — a recent Times-News editorial arguing against direct election of the mayor called the position “almost meaningless” — the mayor’s role is important.
“We are the face, in many respects, of the city,” Hall said.