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Ceres has a full council again
For the first time since January, the Ceres City Council was at full strength following a Friday evening swearing-in ceremony which saw a fifth member added and trading out an incumbent for a familiar face.

Mike Kline was installed in the seat lost by Guillermo Ochoa while Eric Ingwerson - a former mayor - filled the seat that has been vacated for the past 10 months.

Kline, a former member of the Ceres Planning Commission, defeated Ochoa in the Nov. 8 election. Kline also beat out Daniel Padilla.

Ingwerson defeated Linda Ryno and Hugo Molina for the council seat which has been empty since January when Chris Vierra was appointed mayor. The council decided to let the seat remain vacant until November to spare the cost of a special election. An appointment could not be made because of a state law that forbids any council from being composed of a majority of appointed members. At the time, Vierra was considered an appointee as was Bret Durossette.

All newly installed officials thanked the voters and took their turns making brief remarks.

Vierra, who was unopposed in the election and won a four-year term, commented that it was "nice to be operating at full strength."

"I'm looking forward to another four years," said Mayor Vierra. "We have a lot of challenging times ahead. We're not through the economic crisis that we have but I feel very confident that while we're trying to right the ship that we're also looking to move the city forward with some exciting things. I'm looking forward to working with this group."

Kline it was a pleasure to serve on the Planning Commission for the last four years and I'm looking forward to my new challenges sitting on the City Council. I'm excited about it."

Ingwerson congratulated the city on the new Council Chambers, noting they were vastly different than the old one he presided in eight years ago.

He remembered Rob Phipps who died four years ago before he could take his seat.

"Rob, we're still thinking of you," said Ingwerson.

Ingwerson, 57, served on the council from 1994 to 2003 and as mayor from 2001 to 2003. Most recently he was on the Ceres Unified School District Board of Trustees since 2007.

Durossette, who was appointed to Phipps' term in 2007 and elected on Nov. 8, commented on the large audience and hoped they'd be back. "I love this town," said Durossette, who is a Ceres High School teacher and coach.

Harry Herbert was sworn in as city treasurer. Watching his swearing in were wife Brenda Scudder Herbert and nephew Greg Scudder.

Participating in the ceremony was members of the American Legion Post 491 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10293 who posted colors.