If you have had the good fortune to drive by City Hall any night since November 29th, you would have seen the remarkable lighting display on the grounds, gazebo, and building. This was a collective effort, but a few people deserve an extra round of praise. First, the nearly sixteen-foot-tall tree in front of City Hall was generously donated by longtime residents Dominic and Angelina Farinacci. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated much of the lighting, and as always, Creighton Louis of Pumpkinville graciously presented the city with a fresh cut tree for the gazebo. This year’s holiday decorations would not have happened without the hard work and ingenuity of Joe Fornaro and our trusty Service Department. Our community is very fortunate to have so many folks willing to share and enhance our seasonal spirit.

Congratulations to newly elected Council members Ron Fenstermaker and Eric Ziegler as well as Councilman Matt Schulz for his successful re-election bid. Additionally, City Council has new leadership with Jeff Ruple serving as Council President and Joe Smolic as the Vice President of our city’s legislative arm. To continue moving our city in the right direction, we will need all hands on deck and I expect this new Council to offer valuable perspective and insight as we build on recent success and chart our course for Kirtland’s future.

The complexion of our City government has certainly changed in the last two years and with the exception of the consistently stable and well-run Fire Department, each department is now guided by new and competent leadership. We have Matt Lallo effectively steering the Law Department, Louis Slapnicker navigating the fiscal waters as Finance Director, and Teresa Szary infusing vigor and enthusiasm as Senior Director. And in the spirit of more efficient government, Teresa also heads daily communication in and out of the Mayor’s office. Doug Courtney has been City Engineer for less than two years but continues to prove his value with his talent and work ethic. And of course, Joe Fornaro heads a Service Department that strives for excellence, is accountable, and is always driven by the dictum “how can I help?”

Most recently, with a continued focus on how best to use tax-payers dollars and improve the value of service we provide, we swore in our new Police Chief, Mr. Brian McCallister on December 6th. Chief McCallister exudes integrity and has my full faith and confidence that he will raise both the Department’s and our community’s standards as to what we expect and deserve from a Police Chief.

Finally, I want to congratulate each of the Kirtland High School Fall sports teams for another season of successes and accolades. To our State Runner-up Kirtland Hornet Football team, specifically the seniors who achieved national acclaim in their unimaginable accomplishment of fifty-five straight victories, I’m confident that I speak for our entire community when I say, we are so proud and grateful for your efforts.

As we close out the year and reflect on the blessings of our astounding community of Faith and Beauty, let us not forget those among us that might be struggling with loneliness or financial weariness. A card, a knock on the door, or a simple phone call can go a long way to remind someone they are not alone and that they live in a community that cares. To borrow a burgeoning mantra from our friends at the Senior Center – we are Team Kirtland.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Mayor, Kevin Potter