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PIERRE, S.D. –Pierre has a new Mayor and a new City Commissioner.
Tonight, Steve Harding was sworn in as Pierre’s 19th Mayor at the Pierre City Commission meeting. Harding served nine years as a City Commissioner prior to being elected Mayor early last month. In his first order of business as Mayor, Harding recommended Vona Johnson as the replacement for the commission seat he vacated when he became Mayor.
The Commission agreed with Harding’s recommendation and appointed Johnson to the City Commission. Johnson will fulfill the remainder of Harding’s commission term which ends in July of 2018. Johnson is retired from the South Dakota Housing Development Authority where she spent 30 years working with the development, asset management and compliance of rental housing throughout South Dakota.
Harding said that he talked with a number of people in the last month or so regarding the open commission seat, but ultimately decided to recommend Johnson because of her commitment to Pierre, her professional background, and her calm and approachable demeanor.
“Vona knows Pierre, has expertise with both workforce and affordable housing, and is generous with her time and talents,” said Harding. “Her fresh perspective will be a great asset to both this commission and this community.”
“I am excited to be able to give back to the city where I grew up,” said Johnson. “I look forward to working with community leaders to move Pierre forward.”
Johnson’s initial focus will be in the area of Parks and Recreation; tonight, Harding assigned her as the commission liaison to the department. As a commissioner, Harding served in every commission liaison position –most recently as the Parks and Recreation liaison. As mayor, Harding will liaise with the city administrative offices, Oahe TV, the Chamber of Commerce, the Capitol Complex Beautification Commission, the Capital University Center Board, and Board of the Business Improvement District #1.
Johnson currently works as a Certified Health Coach and is a graduate of Health Coach Institute.
Johnson also graduated from Black Hills State in 1984 with a degree in Business Management. Johnson and her husband Steve have three children and four grandchildren.
Harding will continue his role as Deputy Secretary of the South Dakota Department of the Military. Harding has also worked in the Governor’s Office Economic Development and in his family’s former business –Harding Motor Company. He holds a degree from Black Hills State University and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Following 34 years of service, Harding retired from the South Dakota Army National Guard as a Colonel.