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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

New era begins at Moscow City Hall

By Anthony Kuipers Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Monday’s Moscow City Council meeting ushered in a new era as three new city councilmembers, a new city supervisor and new mayor were sworn into office.

Mayor Art Bettge took the oath of office, Julia Parker, Hailey Lewis and Gina Taruscio were sworn onto City Council and Bill Belknap took his position as the new city supervisor.

Much of the meeting was devoted to sharing kind words for outgoing mayor Bill Lambert, outgoing city supervisor Gary Riedner and outgoing city council member Brandy Sullivan.

Riedner is leaving after 26 years.

“Gary embodies the complex multifaceted character trait of understanding,” city attorney Mia Bautista said.

Deputy city supervisor Tyler Palmer said Riedner practiced “selfless service” and his work to oversee Moscow’s city services affected every citizen.

Deputy city supervisor Jen Pfiffner said Riedner has worked through every hard decision with an empathetic approach and is a “living example of ethical management.”

Riedner then took to the podium to share his brief remarks.

“I don’t know who you folks were describing tonight,” he joked. “He sounds like a heck of a guy.”

Riedner thanked city staff for doing their jobs with the “heart of a servant” and said he was grateful to work with the mayor, council and the community.

“The community means a lot to me,” he said.

As a parting gift, he was allowed to keep a wooden duck decoy that was part of Moscow’s public art collection and on Riedner’s wall since 2004.

As Lambert gave his final remarks, he thanked the 170 people who work for the city as well as the many who volunteer on the city’s commissions.

“That’s what makes our city great is the volunteerism,” he said.

He credited the council for being steadfast in their actions, including when it came to making decisions in response to COVID-19. He said they did what they thought was right for the community and did not let politics interfere with their decision making.

Lambert has served the city of Moscow for 21 years as a member of the planning and zoning commission, board of adjustment, city council and as mayor.

“I never took it for granted ever,” he said.

As Parker, Lewis and Taruscio were sworn in, it began what is likely the first term in Moscow’s history with a council of all women.

Sullivan chose not to run for re-election this year and former council member Bettge now takes his post as mayor.

Sullivan thanked residents for being involved in city government by attending meetings and joining commissions. She credited the council for being respectful of each other and approaching issues with an open mind.

“You all play a big part in why this has been a positive experience for me,” she said.