A word of prayer was held in memory of Mayor Johnnie Hauerland, who passed away recently.

Meridian City Council met in regular session Monday, August 2nd, and began discussing the unexpired mayor’s term.  

Mayoral Seat

Council Member Jackye Hatley mentioned that Ryan Nieuwenhuis had intended to run for mayor in the May 2021 Municipal Election, but did not out of respect after finding that Mayor Johnnie Hauerland intended to run. 

Hatley motioned for Council Member Ryan Nieuwenhuis as the new Mayor. Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 Jeff Hightower administered the Oath of Office after the council’s approval.

Discussion of New Council Member, Mayor Pro Tem

The council then moved to moved to discussion on filling the now-vacant council seat. In the interest of keeping the budget moving, Hatley recommended that the council consider former council member Melba Catchings due to past service with Meridian City Council. Council Member Shawn Stauffer mentioned that Catchings had a great record with the council.

Doug Davis and Lee Martinez were also discussed as candidates. The council requested more review before filling the schedule, pledging to return August 16 to discuss the candidates further after speaking with each in-depth.

The council moved to keep Shawn Stauffer as Mayor Pro Tem. Signatories were approved as Mayor Pro Tem, City Secretary, Mayor, and City Administrator. Discussion turned to Texas Community Development Block Grants for sidewalk and sewer infrastructure upgrades. Niewenhuis was approved as a signer for the release of funds from the grants.

New Meridian Chief of Police

After interviewing two candidates, the council hired Blake Johnson as the Chief of the Meridian Police Department. Niewenhuis delivered the Oath of Office and a reception for Johnson and family followed.

Watch for a special episode of the Bosque County Blast to feature both Nieuwenhuis and Johnson in-person. And be sure to follow the City of Meridian on Facebook for more.