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Cheyenne's Municipal Building. Wyoming Tribune Eagle/file

CHEYENNE – For the past year, Council President Rocky Case and Vice President Bryan Cook have served as leaders for the Cheyenne City Council. On Tuesday, the two prepared to pass the baton to next year’s leaders at the council’s annual straw poll dinner.

The council voted to have Ward 2 Councilman Mark Rinne take the lead as council president, and chose Ward 1 Councilman Jeff White to be his righthand man as vice president.

“It’s been an enlightening year, to say the least,” Case said at the dinner. He said he’s excited to serve another year as a councilman and to continue making positive progress.

As council president, it was his responsibility to carry out the vote for next year’s leadership. He asked for nominations from the council, and Councilman Rinne and Ward 2 Councilman Bryan Cook were both nominated by their peers.

Rinne was selected for the role of president, with a sole “no” vote from Ward 3 Councilman Ken Esquibel, who noted that he would like to see some new faces in city leadership.

When Rinne first served on the council, the city didn’t have greenways yet. He’s been on the council for more than 20 years and will bring that experience to the leadership role. He said he’s enjoyed watching the city change for the better during that time.

“That’s what I like about City Council is that what we do have is a direct, tangible effect on Cheyenne,” Rinne said.

He said he hopes to continue making progress on developments in town, including the Hynds Building, as well as continue projects like the Reed Avenue rail corridor.

As president, Rinne said he plans to lead with tact and diplomacy.

“I look at the council president’s view as he’s the liaison between the council and the mayor,” Rinne said. “I guess I view myself as that conduit of information between the two sides – the executive and the legislative.”

Last year, Mayor Marian Orr decided not to attend any straw poll dinners going forward to allow the council to make their own decision and ease any awkwardness.

At Rinne’s side will be White, who comes with experience of his own. Serving on the council for four years, he now has a leadership role as the chairman of the Finance Committee.

“It’s been the honor of my life to be a Ward 1 representative,” White said.

White’s peers unanimously voted him into the vice president position. In recent years, White said he’s been excited about the obstacles that have been overcome with blight in the city. He said he hopes to continue working on vacant properties and other development projects.

“I’m very much looking forward to collaborating with Dr. Rinne as president, and also our colleagues and the mayor, and just trying to move Cheyenne forward,” White said.

White, alongside Rinne, will be formally appointed to their positions in January.

“We’re slowly moving forward, and I want to keep seeing that progress being made,” Rinne said.

Margaret Austin is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s local government reporter. She can be reached at maustin@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3152. Follow her on Twitter @MargaretMAustin.

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