Former councilwoman returns to council seat

After a voluntary break from the Mitchell City Council, Bev Robinson's seven years of experience earned her a return to the eight-person board. Mayor Jerry Toomey selected Robinson to return to the City Council after her nine-year break from the ...

Bev Robinson, president of the Mitchell Area Networking Association, speaks to representatives of other Mitchell service agencies about Mitchell's needs in this July photograph. (Daily Republic file photo)

After a voluntary break from the Mitchell City Council, Bev Robinson’s seven years of experience earned her a return to the eight-person board.

Mayor Jerry Toomey selected Robinson to return to the City Council after her nine-year break from the position, highlighting Robinson’s experience in the position as a major contributor in the decision-making process.

“They were all four good choices, I just felt that Bev fit the bill better than the other three just because of her past experience,” Toomey said about Robinson, who Toomey served with as a Ward 2 council member in 2005.

Robinson beat out Darron Werkmeister, Tara Volesky and Jodie Cain-Lambert, who each would have been new to the City Council, to earn the position. With Robinson’s return, every council member has at least 22 months experience in the part-time position, which paid $9,283 in 2015.

Toomey thanked the other three candidates for applying, even urging them to put their names in contention for future committee assignments, but decided to choose a familiar face to serve the final two and a half years of the Ward 2 term.


“Yes, you can say sometimes maybe a new face is nice, but we’ve got so many things going on that I want to get done over the next two and a half years, and the more seamless I can make it, I think it makes it easier and better for me and the city,” Toomey said.

Robinson agreed her experience provides some advantages when she dives back into the role on Monday.

“Here we are with two and a half years left in that term, and we really need somebody in there that isn’t going to have to go through a full learning curve,” Robinson said.

Robinson said the budgeting process, knowledge of the city departments and the procedures of City Council meetings lightens the learning curve a rookie council member would face.

Robinson, a professional service coordinator at Cathedral Square Apartments, served Ward 2 from 1999 to 2006 before leaving to take a job as senior services coordinator for the city. She will replace Randy Doescher, who vacated the seat due to the time constraints of the position.

While the decision to choose the next City Council representative wasn’t easy, Toomey said Robinson’s priorities align closely with his own. Toomey, who called Robinson a person of integrity and honesty, believes Robinson shares his vision for Main Street and Lake Mitchell.

Because of that shared vision, Toomey expects to have Robinson replace Doescher as the council’s representative on the Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee. But Robinson will not replace Doescher on the Planning and Zoning Board. Instead, Councilman Dan Allen will serve as representative on the Planning and Zoning Board while Robinson takes his place on the Sidewalk Committee.

Robinson declined to take a stance on Lake Mitchell, which is facing a potentially costly cleanup project, but she did offer a glimpse into her vision for Main Street.


As a long-time Mitchell resident, Robinson said it’s time for the city to consider expanding the Corn Palace experience for more than just tourists. Robinson said the Hot Bike Tour that rolled through Mitchell in September was a success and hoped to attract more events that bring locals downtown. She also liked the idea of a green space near the Corn Palace, which was included in the 2016 budget.

Aside from improvements to Main Street, Robinson said she doesn’t have much of an agenda to promote. But she does hope to bring some long-term project planning to the table before the next budget session.

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