A New Mayor for Whitefish

By Beacon Staff

After nearly eight years as mayor, Andy Feury submitted his official resignation at last night’s city council meeting. Then, City Attorney John Phelps swore in Cris Coughlin to fill the mayor role until this fall’s election.

This past year, Feury discovered that his work in China took more of his time than he thought. Feury’s business – a lumber products brokerage and plastics company – now demands he spends up to eight months each year overseas, where he is currently building a factory near Shanghai. In his absence, Coughlin has filled his shoes as deputy mayor.

While Coughlin presides now as mayor, voting only as a tie-breaker, the City Council will appoint someone to fill her council position. “I’ve already been deputy mayor while Andy was out of town,” says Coughlin. “Now, it’s for real.”

In the few months that remain until the fall election, Coughlin hopes to accomplish projects already afloat. “Hopefully, we’ll see the critical areas ordinance come to fruition,” notes Coughlin. “That’s a really good thing, as all the controversial parts will disappear.”

In last November’s election, voters increased the mayoral term from two to four years. Even with the longer term duration, three candidates have filed to run for mayor in this fall’s election–Coughlin, past mayor Mike Jenson, and current councilor Nick Palmer. The election will be held between mid-October and November 6 via mail-in ballots.

As mayor, Coughlin will lead city council meetings, serve on committees, and perform duties like ribbon cuttings. Most of all, she wants to maintain the tenor of communication that Feury exemplified. “I just want to follow in Andy’s footsteps of running an open, fair process,” continues Coughlin. “I really respect him for that and believe in that same principle.”