New Year, New Leaders

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For the first time in a dozen years, there's a new person at the top of Marietta city government.

Democrat Michael Mullen took the oath of office Thursday as Mayor, in an early morning ceremony.

U.S. Congressman Ted Strickland gave the oath to the new mayor and to members of city council.

Mullen says that, for now, he's concerned with maintaining public services.

"We're going to make sure of all the emergency services," Mullen said, "So we're ready for snow, high water, hazardous materials, or some kind of natural disaster, so we have all those things in place."

Marietta City Council met briefly, enacting the city's new budget for 2004, but its first regular meeting of the year isn't until next Thursday.

While a new mayor took over in Marietta, Belpre’s mayor began a second term in office.

Bill McAffee took the oath of office, along with members of Belpre City Council, and city law director James McCauley.

McAffee has just returned to work, after having back surgery in December.

But he says everything has gone well in his absence.

"Dave Ferguson, who is president pro-tem of city council, has been performing what duties had to be performed," McAfee told us. "December's a slow month, so I chose that month to have the back done."

McAffee first official duty in his new term was to name a new safety-service director.

Bob Boersma, who held that post in former Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews' administration, was appointed to the same job in Belpre.

He replaces Dale Myers, Junior, who recently was called to military service.