ALAN Bechly has been officially sworn in as a new Somerset councillor.
Cr Bechly will fill the vacant position left on the council following the passing of long-time councillor Neil Zabel.
An elected member of the first Somerset council, Cr Bechly, pictured, was appointed to the council as the highest vote-getter who was outside the elected six councillors at the April election.
He narrowly missed out on re-election during finishing up just outside of the top six positions with 5.64% of the vote.
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the council could, under section 166(2) of the Local Government Act 2009, appoint the runner-up at the last election or hold a by-election with the appointment occurring within 12 months of the election.
Somerset councillors supported the decision to appoint Mr Bechly.
He was sworn in during Friday's council meeting.
"We welcome Cr Bechly to the team and look forward to working together for the betterment of the region," Cr Lehmann said.
Cr Bechly, of Kilcoy, said the day was a special day for many reasons.
"My father would have turned 97 today and he also served on council for 33 years," Cr Bechly said.
"I'm pleased to be back representing the region. I'm passionate about local government and representing the interests of my constituents.
It's a longstanding tradition in the Bechly family to represent the community and I'm proud to continue the legacy
His appointment was immediate.