Wilkerson, Hill sworn in; Denning appointed to city commission

Bruce Wilkerson, a former Bowling Green city commissioner, was sworn in Tuesday as mayor.

Natalie Hayden

Bruce Wilkerson was sworn in Tuesday night as Bowling Green’s newest mayor.

Commissioner and WKU instructor Melinda Hill was also sworn in as commissioner, a seat she managed to hold onto after beating four challengers in last week’s election.

Wilkerson, who was a commissioner for five years, defeated incumbent Joe Denning and WKU sophomore Brandon Peay for the position.

“It’s been a long journey, and I’m pleased we came to the conclusion we did,” Wilkerson said. “I’m glad to be here.”

Wilkerson’s first order of business was appointing Denning to fill the vacant commission seat left by Wilkerson when he became mayor. The motion was approved with a 3-1 vote, with all in favor except Commissioner Bill Waltrip.

“My reasoning is based on the premise of my previous votes,” Waltrip said. “I believe that the person who came in second in the 2011 commission race should be appointed to this position.”

Although he had heard that the mayor as well as the commission results should be interpreted, Waltrip said that commissioner and mayor are two different positions.

Last time there was a vacant seat, the commission interviewed several candidates until deciding upon Hill.

Hill said Denning deserves the position because he is a great man and he was the “No. 1 vote-getter” in the election.

“This is how I feel – that he is finishing the last year of his term,” Hill said. “For the people that were upset with this issue, I hope we make them happy later on.”

Before he became mayor, Denning served on the commission for nearly two decades. Denning said he is honored to be appointed back on to serve the citizens of Bowling Green.

“It’s a short time till November 2012 when everyone has to run again,” he said. “Until then, we will continue to be consistent with the services we provide to the city.”