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Palm Desert Has New Mayor, Council Members

Newly elected council members Van Tanner and Susan Marie Weber took the oath of office at Thursday night's council meeting. Jan Harnik was named mayor, and Jean Benson became mayor pro tem.

The Palm Desert City Council has some new faces on the dais, along with some familiar ones taking on new roles.

On Thursday night, the results of the Nov. 6 election were made official as newly elected council members Van Tanner and Susan Marie Weber took the oath of office for Palm Desert.  Returning Councilman Bob Spiegel joined them in the oaths.

"I'm just so honored and so pleased to be of service to the city of Palm Desert," Weber said to meeting attendees following the swear-in ceremony.  

The new councilwoman, who takes her seat after four tries at the office, said she looks forward to working with the citizens of Palm Desert. 

"I am here tonight saying that I will try to do the best that I can and I'm looking forward to the community support, because I wholly believe in community support; everybody should be speaking up and participating."

Both Weber and Tanner made sure to thank all those who helped them get elected.

"At the forums, I said 'what you see is what you get'; this is what you see," Tanner said.

"Every Thursday from this point on, my door will be open," he added.  "I'm available to listing to your concerns... I will do what I say I'll do."

Also at the meeting, the annual mayoral rotation took place, in which the council voted Jan Harnik mayor, and Jean Benson mayor pro-tempore.

"Wow, well, I'm truly honored, and I'm humbled to serve the city of Palm Desert," Harnik said.  "This is really an amazing day for me."

"The Coachella Valley is an amazing place and it has wonderful and distinct cities," she continued.  "And Palm Desert is in the center of this Valley and it has developed and gown to be a diverse cultural center."

Mayor Pro Tem Benson said she's eager to work with the new mayor.

"I'm really honored to be mayor pro tem, and if I can help Jan in any way, I'll be glad to do that," Benson said.

The swear-in process was preceded by a presentation to outgoing Councilwoman Cindy Finerty by now-former Mayor Spiegel, thanking her for her many years of public service.

Finerty thanked the council and city in an emotional address.

"I thank God for helping my dream come true, and God bless the city of Palm Desert," she said.

Spiegel also gave a brief speech about outgoing Mayor Pro Tem Bill Kroonen, who had to leave the meeting early.

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