LANCASTER – Council members Sandra Johnson and Ken Mann were sworn in to office by city clerk Geri Bryan at Tuesday night’s city council Meeting.
Johnson, who was the top vote getter in the April 10 election in her first bid for office, said she’s looking forward to getting right to work for the city.
“I’m looking forward to the four years that we’re going to have,” Johnson said. “We’re pulling our sleeves up and making sure we get things done.”
Johnson said for the next four years, she’ll be tackling the three issues most critical to moving Lancaster forward.
“Education, creating jobs, and also cutting down on crime,” Johnson said. “I truly believe that education is the key to the other two, so if we really promote the educational part of it, it’s going to help on the other end too.”
Mann, who will be serving his second term as a Lancaster Council Member, said his next four years will be tough as the city tries to get a handle on its crime rate.
“We’re already seeing some of the challenges that the state put on us with the early release; we’re starting to see some of the contributing crimes from felons that were released out of prison,” Mann said. “So I think that for the next four years, for us to get back to that trend of downward crime statistics and make Lancaster safe again, it’s going to be a challenge.”
The two council members sailed to victory on April 10 with more than 70 percent of the votes between them. According to Bryan, there were 9,104 ballots cast in this year’s election – 433 provisional ballots, 6,117 vote-by-mail ballots and 2,554 ballots cast at the precincts.
Speaking at the council meeting Tuesday, Michael Rives said two things about this year’s election process concerned him– the security of the absentee ballots and whether fellow candidate Isaac Grajeda was a city employee.
City clerk Geri Bryan said the absentee ballots were locked in a fire safe vault every night.
“And then, as required by law, they are brought out each day so the public can see the trays of ballots,” Bryan said.
“There is never a time [during the day] when they’re not visible, when there’s not two people watching them,” said City Manager Mark Bozigian. “We have to be sworn in to go back there, and in every way, they’re secure and open and transparent for the public to see exactly what’s happening… just because they’re visible doesn’t mean that they’re not secure.”
Additionally, Bozigian said Isaac Grajeda was not a city employee, but rather, Grajeda worked at the Cedar Arts Academy.
R. Rex Parris, who garnered more than 75 percent of the votes in the April 10 election to win his third term as mayor of Lancaster, did not attend Tuesday’s council meeting.