Morning News-Lisa Lete
City Clerk Suzanne McNeel swears in Blackfoot native Layne Gardner as new Blackfoot City Councilman at a city council meeting Tuesday night. Gardner, replaces Butch Hulse on the council.
In the first city council meeting of the new year, Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue appointed Layne Gardner to fill the council seat held by Butch Hulse who died in October 2012.
Gardner is the brother of the late Chris Gardner, who was serving as a city councilman when he was killed in an ATV accident in July of 2010.
[Layne] Gardner, a Blackfoot native, has taught in School District 55 for 28 years and currently teaches English and literature at Blackfoot High School. As a businessman, he runs Gardner Enterprises. Under the company, Gardner built and manages the 6-plex apartments on Fisher Street in Blackfoot.
Gardner said that he was asked by Mayor Virtue to fill his brother's seat on the council after he was killed, but that he "wasn't ready." Current councilman Rich Woodfin, was later appointed to fill [Chris] Gardner's seat.
Gardner said he is now "ready and willing to serve" and that he believes that his brother [Chris] would be pleased.
"I am looking forward to working with the mayor and the other councilmen," he said. "I'm coming in fresh and I have no hidden agenda."
[Layne] Gardner and his wife Melanie have four children.
Mayor Virtue said that his logic behind selecting Gardner to fill the seat was based on the fact that all four city council seats, plus his own position as the mayor of Blackfoot, are up for re-election this fall. Virtue has said that he will not seek re-election.
"The legacy I want to leave behind is a stable council that can work together," he said. "I've known the entire Gardner family for years. Layne is an experienced businessman and everyone in the Gardner family has contributed greatly to the community. I believe (Layne Gardner) is the best selection for the council."
Councilman Chris Jensen was elected by the council to serve as council president for another year. Jensen has served as council president for the past two years.