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Laurel now has a mayor.

Former city councilman Tom Nelson was sworn in during a morning ceremony on Wednesday. That came a day after mayor-elect Dave Waggoner failed to appear for swearing in during a council meeting on Tuesday.

Nelson was also absent from Tuesday's meeting, and he said he asked to be sworn in Wednesday morning so that the city could conduct its business.

“We had bills we had to pay," Nelson said. "We have a budget and finance committee that we have to convene.”

The council appointed Nelson to be mayor as a contingency plan amid a dispute over Waggoner's election. Waggoner is a city employee at the water treatment plant, and city officials contended he couldn't also serve as mayor.

After Waggoner failed to appear, the city looked to Nelson, who chose to forego another term on the council and run for mayor. He lost the November election to Waggoner.

Waggoner didn't return calls for comment.

Nelson's term will last until the next municipal election, set for November 2019.

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General Assignment Reporter

Reporter for The Billings Gazette.