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WESTMINSTER : Rice Makes Presence Felt on Council

If her first meeting was any indication, Margie L. Rice could be the life of the City Council.

Moments after she was sworn in Tuesday, Rice, 65, was sort of setting the rules of engagement.

“Don’t push me around, because I’ll push back,” she said. “I’ve earned my right to sit here.”

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Her comments drew applause from the audience, including some supporters who helped her garner the most votes among the three candidates who vied for two council seats in the Nov. 8 election.

Rice received 10,739 votes, ahead of Tony Lam, who won a second term with 9,794, and Craig Schweisinger, who lost his council seat after one term. He received 9,407 votes.

Mayor Charles V. Smith, who ran unopposed, is returning for a fourth term. He will serve for two years.

Rice came out swinging after Schweisinger, in one of his final acts as council member, showed a photo of a Rice campaign sign apparently used by the Westminster firefighters union in an unsuccessful recall drive in June.

The recall effort targeted Schweisinger, Lam, Smith and Charmayne S. Bohman over cuts in manpower and equipment at the Fire Department last year.

Schweisinger said the firefighters supported Rice in their continuing attempt to take over City Hall. Members of the firefighters union attended Tuesday’s council meeting but did not respond to Schweisinger.

Rice, a member of the Westminster Elementary School District board for 18 years, later joined her colleagues in a unanimous vote to elect Bohman as mayor pro tem.

She also joined in praise of Finance Director Brian Mayhew, who in May pulled out the city’s $2.5-million investment in the county pool, avoiding the financial difficulties that now beset other cities following the pool’s investment losses of more than $2 billion.


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