KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- Monday was a long day for Kalamazoo City Commissioner Stephanie Bell as she was sworn in to a new two-year term on the city board.
Earlier in the day, she watched as her husband was sentenced to 9-to-20 years in prison after he was convicted on criminal sexual conduct and child pornography charges for carrying on a relationship with a special needs student.
Commissioner Bell said this is the hardest thing she has been through but she has managed with the help of her faith, her family and her friends. Terrence Bell claimed his innocence throughout the trial, claiming that nothing happened, just a lot of unsolicited e-mail.
An appeal is planned.
Job one for the now-official 49th Kalamazoo CIty Commission will be next year’s budget, and the bigger job will be restructuring and downsizing city Government to what is now being called the “new normal”.
Vice Mayor Hannah McKinney said that means working with a lot less revenue and less staff while keeping the city functioning.
Mayor Bobby Hopewell said it's going to take everybody to make it work.
Commissioners expressed other concerns, like regaining access to the Basswood Preserve and helping improving the quality of life for the poor, the homeless and the unemployed. A reception followed the ceremonial swearing in.