CASPER, Wyo. — In a special meeting today, Sept. 22, the Casper City Council elected a new mayor and vice mayor to serve for the remainder of 2023. The change in leadership comes in the wake of the resignation of former Mayor Bruce Knell.
The council convened at 9:30 a.m. at the Lyric, located at 230 W. Yellowstone Highway. The meeting had an agenda that included the elections, oath-taking ceremonies and an executive session focusing on personnel, legal advice and security matters.
The Casper City Council elected Ray Pacheco as mayor and Lisa Engebretsen as vice mayor during the special meeting. Both officials were sworn in during the meeting, reaffirming their commitment to serve the Casper community.
Councilor Kyle Gamroth spoke on the need for stability during this time.
“I feel like we need to kind of stabilize, right the ship, and you’re one of the most experienced,” Gamroth said.
Pacheco was the only nomination for mayor. He was voted in by all other councilors, abstaining from the vote himself.
Councilor Lisa Engebretsen spoke on the need for female leadership on the council during vice mayor nominations.
“I think that it’s important to consider having a female in leadership. We have not had a female leadership for quite some time,” Engebretsen said.
After a brief recess, the council went to a ballot process, or straw poll, for vice mayor after receiving three nominations: Lisa Engebretsen nominated herself, Gena Jensen nominated herself and Kyle Gamroth was nominated by Councilor Amber Pollock.
Engebretsen and Gamroth tied and the straw poll went to a second round of voting.
Council then had a formal motion and vote to elect Engebretsen as Vice Mayor. Engebretsen abstained from the vote.
“I want to thank everybody for the vote; I do understand how important this is, and I will do my very best to do right by the city and show great leadership, but also patience, understanding and wisdom to the public as well as the councilors,” Engebretsen said.
“This is something that in the nine years I’ve been on council has never happened. … It has been incredibly difficult for the council, its been incredibly difficult for the staff, and I feel incredibly difficult for the community,” Pacheco said. “We have things we need to do in the next three months … but nothing more important than establishing and making sure that we have the trust of this community.”
Due to ongoing and extensive renovations at City Hall, the City Council met in The Lyric, 230 W. Yellowstone Highway, at 9:30 a.m. The session was open to the public. Those interested can watch a video of the special meeting on the City of Casper YouTube channel or find it below.