The Columbia Council last week elected John Hansen of Harper's Choice village as its chairman and Karen Kuecker of Owen Brown as its vice chairwoman.
The officers were chosen Thursday by acclamation, although Hansen was elected after five ballots in an organizational meeting May 7. Evelyn Richardson of Dorsey's Search and Joseph Merke of Town Center also competed for the chair.
Hansen was appointed as the Harper's Choice representative in 1989 to replace now-County Councilman Paul Farragut and was re-elected without opposition in 1990 and last month.
The new chairman has often been at odds with other council members, most recently criticizing them for failing to enact greater reductions in the Columbia Association's annual property charge.
With the election last month of council critics Charles Ahalt of Hickory Ridge and Norma Rose of Wilde Lake, Hansen's views are likely to carry more weight on the council.
Hansen has often urged the council to make association facilities more exclusive by charging non-city residents higher membership fees. Association staff have argued for years that doing that would make the association less profitable and thus unable to provide city residents with the same level of service.
Ahalt favors total exclusivity, while Rose has said city residents pay too much for membership in neighborhood pools and other facilities. Both argue that residents already support those facilities through the association's property charge.
On Wednesday, Hansen was elected to serve as vice president of the Columbia Democratic Club.