Alexandria leaders take oath of office; they're ready for 2021

The ceremony was a celebration of their rise to office, a time to bid a fond farewell to long-time council member and Mayor Sara Carlson, and an opportunity for Osterberg to outline her philosophy and goals as the city’s new mayor.

Oath Bobbie.jpg
While taking the oath of office from City Attorney Tom Jacobson on Thursday, Dec. 31, mayor-elect Bobbie Osterberg put a hand on a Bible her father used when he confirmed in 1936. Her husband, Paul, held the Bible. (Al Edenloff / Echo Press)

Alexandria city leaders are now ready to face the challenges and opportunities of the New Year.

New members of the Alexandria City Council took their oaths of office this morning, Dec. 31. They include mayor-elect Bobbie Osterberg, Ward 3 council member Scott Allen and Ward 5 council member Andrew Wiener.

The ceremony was a celebration of their rise to office, a time to bid a fond farewell to long-time council member and Mayor Sara Carlson, and an opportunity for Osterberg to outline her philosophy and goals as the city’s new mayor.

Osterberg said she will miss Carlson’s leadership, presence, patience and wisdom.

Quoting from former Golden Gophers Coach Lou Holtz, Osterberg said she’ll follow his three rules: “Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care.”


Building off a tradition Carlson started, Osterberg said her word of the year for 2021 is ICE, an acronym for Integrity, Commitment and Engagement. She urged citizens to participate in local government and do little things such as not littering and being kind to others.

Osterberg said it was important for city leaders to remain non-partisan and to be open to both sides of a story. She said she was proud that during a time of national political divisiveness, local city leaders always put the best interests of the community first.

Osterberg encouraged more community engagement. She added that 60 years ago, John F. Kennedy told citizens to look beyond themselves and she asked all Alexandria residents to do the same.

Before the oaths were taken, Mayor Carlson presented Osterberg with a gift of a glass flower for her office. Carlson said it was smooth, like the transition of the Alexandria mayoral office will be, but also breakable, a reminder that the trust citizens and city staff place upon the mayor should never be broken. Carlson added that the glass flower also looks better in a bouquet that reflects the contributions from the five city council members.

Carlson also presented Osterberg with a plaque containing the Athenian Oath, which urges leaders to never disgrace their city and to revere and obey the city’s laws.

Carlson left Osterberg with a final piece of advice: Whenever in doubt, always do what is best for the city.

Via a Zoom conference call, Alexandria Police Chief Scott Kent congratulated Carlson and Osterberg for their service to the city. He said the police department will focus on several goals for 2021 – ensuring the physical and mental well-being of staff; having a more efficient work flow; focusing on specific training needs, such as conflict mediation; strengthening communication such as digging deeper into diversity equity and inclusion; leadership development and community engagement.

Alexandria Fire Chief Jeff Karrow told Carlson that he appreciated her many visits to the fire station and for her many “check-in” phone calls to see how his department was doing and if there was something that he needed. He said Carlson not only had deep knowledge of the fire department but all the other city departments as well.


Karrow said that Carlson’s service will give momentum to Osterberg as she assumes the mayor position.

CIty Administrator Marty Schultz said Carlson led the city with kindness, compassion and empathy. He said he’s looking forward to working with Allen and Wiener and can’t wait to hear Osterberg’s ideas and vision.

About the new council members

As it turns out, both Wiener and Allen are friends.

Exactly one year ago, on New Year’s Eve in 2019, Allen said Wiener sent him a text encouraging him to run for city council in Ward 3, held by Osterberg. He gave it some thought and decided to seek election. He ran unopposed and received 1,302 votes.

Allen, who has four children, has lived in Alexandria since 1989. He’s president of American National Bank in Alexandria and has worked there since 2002.

Wiener knew there would be an opening in his precinct, Ward 5, after the incumbent, Todd Jensen, decided to run for mayor. He said he’s been involved in public service and had served on a few boards and decided it would be a good way to contribute to the community. Wiener defeated Charles Funk , 658 votes to 302.

Wiener has been an attorney for the McCarten Law Firm since 2011. He and his wife, Kristen Haabala, have two children – 4-year-old Thomas and 2-week-old Samuel.


Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
What To Read Next
Get Local