The new Leesburg Town Council was together for the first time Thursday night, as Mayor Kelly Burk and three fellow council members were sworn into office.
The swearing-in ceremony brought a packed crowd to Ida Lee Park Recreation Center to see Burk, the first mayor other than Kristen Umstattd elected by town residents in almost 15 years, take the oath of office.
She was joined by Ken Reid, returning to the Town Council after a four-year stint as Leesburg District supervisor that ended last year. Reid previously served on the council from 2006 to 2011 before winning the supervisor seat. Tom Dunn was also sworn in, after being re-elected to his third consecutive council term. Ron Campbell, the lone newcomer to the council, took his first oath.
Each of the four took a moment to thank their supporters, family members, and friends who made their successful campaigns possible.
Reid stressed the importance of working together, putting aside political or personal differences, to create the best solutions for Leesburg and its residents. He even paid homage to County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large), who was in attendance, for creating cohesiveness on the Board of Supervisors, and said the Town Council should follow suit.
Burk said she has “great expectations” for the next two years—the length of the mayor’s term— and highlighted goals of promoting a fair, open, and honest government; supporting growth if it brings benefits to the town; and pursuing transportation improvements.
Campbell said he hoped to engage parts of the community that may have been overlooked in the past, and said representing the town is all about remembering the families that make it up.
Dunn encouraged those in attendance to “keep us accountable” and stay involved in the legislative process.
One of the first actions of the new council, which also includes returning council members Marty Martinez and Suzanne Fox, will be deciding who will join them on the dais. Burk’s election to the mayor’s post with two years remaining on her council term will require a special election to fill the rest of her term.
But before the special election the council must appoint an interim council member, who will serve until the winner of the special election is sworn in. They have 90 days from when the council vacancy is created, expected to be on or near Dec. 31, to fill the seat. The town is accepting expressions of interest from town residents who want to be considered for the interim appointment. The council is expected to discuss, and potentially appoint, the interim replacement at its Jan. 9 organizational meeting, which begins at 5 p.m.