Johnson new mayor pro tem

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Amber Hess, left, and Cindy Johnson, center, take their oath of office from Clerk/Treasurer Anna Soik before Tuesday’s Alpena Municipal Council meeting. Johnson also was appointed mayor pro tem during the meeting.

ALPENA — Alpena Municipal Council started the new year by voting on a new mayor pro tem and getting committee assignments during Tuesday’s meeting.

Council voted 4-1 to appoint Cindy Johnson as mayor pro tem. She will replace Shawn Sexton who did not seek re-election last year.

Mayor Matt Waligora said there were two council members who expressed interest in the position, Johnson and Mike Nowak. He said Nowak had expressed interest several years ago, but he was new to the council and Sexton, a veteran in local politics was elected.

Waligora expressed his support for Nowak and afterward Johnson and Nowak explained why they believed they were the best choice.

Nowak said he takes pride in holding meet-and-greet events where he connects with residents and talks about local issues.

“I believe I have done a lot to keep the council transparent and to keep us and the issues in the public’s eye,” Nowak said. “Getting their thoughts and hearing their concerns helps us be a better and more affective council and I would appreciate your support.”

Johnson said she was a good fit for mayor pro tem because of the work she does in the community while on committees and others on her own time. After she was done speaking, Councilwoman Susan Nielsen made a motion to nominate Johnson. The motion passed 4-1 with Johnson, Neilsen, Amber Hess and Waligora voting yes and Nowak voting no.

Afterward Johnson expressed her appreciation for the confidence the other council members showed in her.

“I’m extremely honored and humbled to be able to serve as mayor pro tem,” Johnson said. “I love Alpena and have a great passion for it and love being on council.”

In other business:

∫ there will be a special council meeting on Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. at the APlex where council will receive a presentation about a possible RV park at Mich-e-ke-wis Park.

∫ council voted to approve salary increases of $500 this year and next year.

∫ council voted to pay bills in the amount of $360,542.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.