Councilman Steve Freel will be next Casper mayor

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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) Casper City Council chose Councilman Steve Freel, Ward III, to become the city’s next mayor.

Casper City Councilman Steve Freel, Ward III, listens at a council work session in Casper, Wyo. on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.

At least five council members chose Freel in their annual straw poll at Tuesday’s work session. Each year, council members choose one of the nine members to be mayor and another to be Vice President of the Council.

"You want to do what's right for the city and the citizens of the city and that's why I got on council and if I'm going to be here, I would like to have a part in leading council and being in the mayor's position is obviously the place to do it," Freel said.

He will take over for current mayor Charlie Powell, Ward II, at the first 2020 council meeting.

“I think he’ll do well,” Powell said.

A former Casper Police Assistant Chief, he was elected to council in 2018.

"I do understand how the city functions itself, not necessarily on the council side of things with all the political aspects of it but I certainly had my fair share of it in my previous career," Freel said.

Council members also chose Councilwoman Khrystyn Lutz, Ward I, to be the next Vice President of the Council. She’ll take over for Councilman Shawn Johnson, Ward II.

Council members also voted to start the process of increasing the mayor’s salary from $200 to $300 per meeting, which is the maximum allowed under Wyoming state law.

Powell said he hopes this will make it more feasible for people who are thinking about running for council.