Two new Johnstown Village Council members were sworn in during council's first meeting of the year Jan. 7.

Two new Johnstown Village Council members were sworn in during council's first meeting of the year Jan. 7.

They are Bill Van Gundy and Cheryl Robertson.

The meeting began with the swearing-in of Van Gundy, who won his seat in November's elections as the only new council member to be elected.

His first official act involved working with other members in executive session to conduct interviews of five candidates for the remaining vacant council seat. Candidates were David Barr, Bill Dyer, Joyce Evans, Robertson and Rebecca Sparks.

"It was a hard decision to make tonight," said Sean Staneart, who was chosen to retain his seat as mayor. "We had five wonderful candidates."

Staneart said the process of deciding on a new council member is a difficult one, in part because Ohio's Open Meetings Act prohibits council from voting on the member in executive session.

"It's tricky," he told ThisWeek. "Generally, there's discussion to be had, and usually, everyone gives comments, pros and cons for people and things of that nature.

"Sometimes, honestly, it's a crapshoot," he said. "You could come out and council could be split on who they want, and you don't know exactly. One person makes a motion, and then it requires a second. And it may be someone who someone else is not in favor of."

After more than 90 minutes of interviews and discussion, Robertson was nominated and chosen unanimously as the newest council member.

Staneart said Robertson, a 32-year Johnstown resident, had the best mix of on-paper qualifications and recognition in the community.

"Personally, for me, I felt that the resume was great," he said. "The history that she has in the community was another positive, and just her general experience. She has some business experience on her own, and I think she probably is going to be able to hit the ground running a little bit. Her involvement with other events in the community made her stand out as well, at least to me."

Among Robertson's first acts as a new council member was the appointment of mayor.

Staneart and veteran council member David Keck were the only two members who had expressed interest in the position. Though Keck was interested, when Staneart was nominated by Sharon Hendren to return to his position, the motion passed unanimously.

Council also appointed Hendren as council president and Keck as acting council president.

Committee appointments were as follows:

Finance -- Keck, Bob Orsini and Staneart.

Economic development policy -- Robertson, Staneart and Carol Van Deest.

Recreation center lease -- Hendren, Orsini and Staneart.

Rules -- Keck, Robertson and Van Deest

Safety and service -- Hendren, Staneart and Van Gundy.

Personnel board of review -- Hendren, Orsini and Van Gundy.

Planning & Zoning Commission (council representative) -- Staneart.