The politically ambitious R.T. Rybak was sworn in as Minneapolis mayor for the third time on Monday, hoping to leave office before his term is up to assume the governor's chair.

As the City Council convened for a new term with three new members, Barbara Johnson was reelected council president while Betsy Hodges snared the chair of the council's most influential committee.

Creating jobs will be the city's most important task during the next four years, Rybak told a crowd gathered for a swearing-in ceremony marked by song and flags.

He called for making business expansion easier in the city, giving new emphasis to clean-energy and food-sector jobs, and expanding city job-training efforts that have helped to keep the city's jobless rate below metro and state levels.

"We survived the collapse of a bridge and the collapse of an economy and still delivered real results that have made thousands of lives better," said Rybak, who is seeking the DFL nomination for governor.

New Council Members Kevin Reich, Meg Tuthill and John Quincy were among the 13 council members sworn in on Monday. They replaced the retiring Paul Ostrow, Ralph Remington and Scott Benson in the First, 10th and 11th Wards, respectively.

The council then held a brief organizing meeting at which committee chairs were named.

Hodges will head the Ways and Means/Budget Committee, which plays a critical role in putting the council's stamp on the mayor's budget proposals. It also has the opportunity to revamp policy proposals involving spending that emerge from other committees. Hodges succeeds Ostrow as the committee's chair.

The biggest shakeup in last term's committee structure splits the Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee, whose sprawling agenda led to meetings lasting up to five hours. Don Samuels, who chaired that committee, will lead the new Public Safety and Health Committee. Elizabeth Glidden will chair the Regulatory Energy and Environment Committee, as well as a council intergovernmental subcommittee. The Health, Energy and Environment Committee was dissolved, its topics absorbed by the two new committees.

Veteran chairs return to other major committees, with Lisa Goodman heading Community Development, Sandra Colvin Roy leading Transportation and Public Works, and Gary Schiff chairing Zoning and Planning. Other chairs include Robert Lilligren, Committee of the Whole and council vice president; Cam Gordon, elections; Diane Hofstede, audit; Goodman, claims; Quincy, rules; and Reich, taxes.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438