College Station's city council made many headlines in the past year, many times for the wrong reasons. The city's new councilmembers are hoping to change that, though it might be easier said than done.
As Dave Ruesink and Lynn McIlhaney take their seats on College Station's council, they step into high-profile positions that have been scrutinized over the past year. Ruesink doesn't believe that will necessarily change.
"I'm sure that there will be controversy," Ruesink said. "That's just human nature."
"It's going to be incumbent upon this council to come together and find common ground," McIlhaney said.
Ironically, that's the same thing the previous council declared at their retreat nearly one year ago. Those seven will likely be remembered in the local history books for their parts in a heated funding debate over the arts council, along with the fiasco that was Tom Brymer's termination.
"I understand some of the dynamics that were involved in that, and I think that we can overcome those," said Ruesink.
"If everyone looked at it the same way, we might miss something and we might not put a policy in place that really is going to be beneficial," said McIlhaney.
And both new councilmembers believe it's their differences that will bring them together for the city. When asked about the most pressing issue facing the council, McIlhaney, the city's former mayor, said it was the comprehensive plan update, and how to better serve a growing community.
"Getting the citizens involved and clearly identifying what their vision is so we can move forward is going to be really important," she said.
And for Ruesink, who is in San Angelo this week, the half-dozen vacancies at the top of city staff is the key issue.
"It does concern us that we're losing good people, but on the other hand, there are a lot more good people out there," he said. "I hope that this is just a little bump in the road."
Councils have proven they can survive the small bumps. But the road always proves to be long.
There's a new opening at the city to add to the aforementioned list. Charles Wood had been acting as the director of economic development after Kim Foutz left for a job in Temple, but now, Wood is taking a job in Florida.