BELLINGHAM - During its first meeting of the new year, City Council elected Cathy Lehman as its president over Michael Lilliquist.
New council members Pinky Vargas and Roxanne Murphy joined Terry Bornemann and Jack Weiss in backing Lehman.
Lilliquist and Gene Knutson, who had nominated Lilliquist, were silent when the vote was taken on Bornemann's nomination of Lehman.
Council members choose their officers at the start of each year. Candidates for council offices customarily vote for themselves.
Lehman is halfway through her first four-year term on the council. Lilliquist is starting his second four-year term after winning an uncontested reelection in November 2013.
"My biggest goal ... would be to try and look at City Council as a team and see how we can be more successful as a group," Lehman said.
The council chose Bornemann as council president pro tem on Knutson's nomination. Weiss nominated Lilliquist. When the vote was taken on Bornemann, he got the four votes he needed from Vargas, Knutson and Murphy.
The council also unanimously approved Knutson as mayor pro tem.
The council president chairs the weekly council sessions, and the president pro tem does the job if the president is not available. The mayor pro tem can sign some city documents on the city's behalf, among other things, if the mayor is unavailable.