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Twin Falls City Council chooses next mayor

Exterior daytime shot of Twin Falls City Hall
Rachel Cohen
Boise State Public Radio
Twin Falls City Hall

Twin Falls City Council members appointed Ruth Pierce as mayor Monday evening.

Twin Falls operates under a council-manager style of government, in which a non-partisan city manager, Travis Rothweiler, functions as the chief executive overseeing daily operations and advises the city council.

The elected city council members choose the mayor and vice mayor among themselves.

“The first item of business for the new council is, frankly, one of the most awkward, and uncomfortable that we all do every two years,” Councilman Shawn Barigar said during Monday’s meeting.

Pierce and Chris Reid both put themselves forward, and Pierce won with a 4-3 vote. She highlighted her experience with local economic development organizations.

“Facilitating job growth, economic vitality and the quality of life are key to a strong and vibrant community,” said Pierce, who has been vice mayor for the past two years. “I want to continue to serve this community that has given me so much.”

Pierce is also the liaison to a committee that will eventually develop public transportation plans for Twin Falls. She chose Reid to be her vice mayor.

Suzanne Hawkins, who was appointed as mayor two years ago, did not run for reelection to her council seat last November.

Twin Falls is one of the only cities in the state to use this council-manager form of government; McCall also operates this way. Lewiston switched to a “strong mayor” format last November through a citizen initiative, when voters elected Idaho state senator Dan Johnson (R-Lewisiton) to the position. He has chosen a full-time substitute for the upcoming legislative session.

Jason Brown and Spencer Cutler, the newly appointed city council members, were sworn in during Monday’s council meeting.

Brown is a Twin Falls Canal Co. engineer and a former environmental engineer for the city, and Cutler is a facilities director at the College of Southern Idaho.

Issues related to growth and development dominated the latest campaign cycle in Twin Falls. A recent presentation by Rothweiler, the city manager, said median home prices increased 40.5% last year compared to the year before, and are expected to increase this fiscal year, too.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen 

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio

As the south-central Idaho reporter, I cover the Magic and Wood River valleys. I also enjoy writing about issues related to health and the environment.

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