Council Member-to-be Lauren McLean 

"This is such an honor."

Lauren McLean is thinking a lot about the New Year, when she'll become Boise's newest council member. In fact, she's thinking about the next decade.

"When I think about where my kids will be in 10 years, I want this to be a place that, after they go out and discover the world, they'll want to come back," said McLean.

When she's sworn into office on Monday, Jan. 11, 2011, McLean will fill the vacant seat left by Council Member Vern Bisterfeldt, who is leaving to take his new role as Ada County commissioner.

In a special council session on Dec. 16, Mayor Dave Bieter announced McLean as his official nominee.

"I used to think it would be really cool to appoint a council member," sighed Bieter. Hizzoner considered 53 applicants for the job. "Now, I'd just as soon not do it."

Bieter and the Council then heaped praise on McLean, formerly with the Boise Parks Commission and current veteran of the city Planning and Zoning Commission. McLean also served as manager of the 2001 Foothills Open Space Initiative, the levy to protect open space in Boise's Foothills. She currently serves as president and founder of the Confluence Group, a consulting firm that advises clients on maximizing the impact of philanthropic donation.

Overheard prior to the proceedings: her husband helped their two kids "get the wiggles out" before the not-so-kid friendly meeting.

"She's been dedicated to the city since she got off the plane, got off the car--whatever mode of transportation," said Bieter. "I feel really good about this choice, and I hope you feel the same."

Bisterfeldt seemed jovial overall and welcomed the woman replacing him.

"If I don't like it over there, how do I get back?" Bisterfeldt asked the mayor, to much chuckling.

But Bisterfeldt endorsed McLean as the next council member.

"I've known her for a while, and I think the choice is a good one. They tell me I can't vote for you, but I welcome you," he said.

The other council members opined words of wisdom but cautioned trying to fill Bisterfeldt's shoes.

"This is going to be a tough seat to fill," said Council Member David Eberle. "My only advice is: Don't make any motions to remove religious monuments."

Ultimately, the Council voted unanimously to approve McLean's appointment.

"Thank you so much, this is such an honor," McLean said.

Council President Maryanne Jordan mentioned a potential hurdle for the newly minted council member: She has to run for a proper election in nine months and then again two years after that, when Bisterfeldt's term will expire.

On whether or not appointees usually pick up their seat in elections, Bieter said, "Well that's a good question. Both Alan Shealy and Maryanne Jordan were appointed, so they both did that. I'd say probably it's more common than not."

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