MORGAN -- What the newest Morgan County Council lacks in experience, members hope to make up for with excitement.
"This is a new beginning for the county council," said Councilman Don Mathews. "I look forward to the year with anticipation and trepidation, as well, due to the inexperience of the council."
At Tuesday's council meeting, five residents were inaugurated in preparation for their new duties as members of the seven-member council.
Those taking the oath of office were Mathews, Ned L. Mecham, Lyle V. Nelson, Robert Kilmer and Tina Kelley.
Of the seven council members, Kelley, who was first elected to the council four years ago, has the most experience. She was elected the council's new chairwoman Tuesday. Howard Hansen, the next most-experienced, was elected in 2008 and was recently elected vice chairman.
After filling a vacancy six months ago to replace a member who moved from the community, Mathews was re-elected to his four-year District 5 seat.
Councilwoman Ronda Kippen was appointed to fill a vacancy two months ago, when another member resigned for health reasons. Kippen will represent District 4 for the next two years.
"We're going to be learning together," Kippen said. "We've got a lot of learning ahead of us. It will be a very educational year."
"Things have changed from what they were a few years ago," Nelson said. "There are concerns among the people, things I was not aware of. These are complex issues, and we are not professionals."
"We have a lot of new people to work with and get to know and make friends with," said Kelley, who was re-elected to her District 1 seat after running unopposed. "We all have different backgrounds and experiences."
Kelley, who is now slated to serve for another four years, is well aware of the time constraints her new position as chairwoman will carry. Former Chairman Sid Creager, who did not run for re-election, estimated that he spent 25 to 30 hours each week acting as head of the seven-member council.
Kilmer will fill the at-large seat A for the next two years, while Mecham will fill at-large seat B for the next four years. Nelson is filling a four-year District 2 seat.
Residents seem to be satisfied with the prospects of a young council.
"Each (council member) is sincere in keeping the trust the public has placed in (them) and committed to serve in positions of awesome responsibility," said Larry Hatch, who ran in the seat A race.