The Henderson City Council met Monday night at 6:00 o’clock, and installation ceremonies were held for the mayor, the newly elected council members as well as the re-elected incumbents.
Eddie Ellington was sworn in and is now the Mayor of The City of Henderson. Ellington told WIZS News, “I have a huge feeling of pride as well as gratitude knowing that a boy like me who grew up on Burwell Avenue could one day be the mayor of his hometown. It’s time now to move ahead, get to work and see that Henderson lives up to the potential we all know exists.”
Ellington defeated Jim Kearney and Juanita Somerville in October as he earned 50.20 percent of the vote.
As a result of running for mayor, Kearney gave up his ward 1 ward seat on the council. Marion Brodie Williams defeated Clarence Dale in a November runoff, earning almost 56 percent of the votes cast in the runoff. Williams was sworn in Monday night. She told WIZS News, “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that I am accepting this position to represent ward 1. It’s an honor to take the seat that Mr. Kearney had, and I hope to fulfill that with dedication and a lot of enthusiasm. It feels very good to know that the citizens elected me and to stand here right now. It’s all come together for me, and I thank all the citizens of ward 1 for voting for me. I really do.”
Melissa Elliott was sworn in to represent ward 3 at large. She defeated incumbent Brenda Peace, also earning just about 56 percent of those who voted in the November runoff. Elliott told WIZS News, “I feel grateful to God and completely overwhelmed with joy, and I want to serve the citizens of Henderson to the best of my ability.” In response to a question about the next few years, Elliott said, “Initiatives, initiatives, initiatives.”
Also as a part of the meeting, outgoing Mayor James D. “Pete” O’Geary learned that a conference room at City Hall will now bear his name. In addition, O’Geary was awarded “The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.” In attendance representing The State of North Carolina and Governor Pat McCrory was Senator Angela R. Bryant, who represents Vance, Warren, Halifax, Nash and Wilson Counties. Mayor O’Geary expressed extreme gratitude for the award and to the City and to the council at several points during the meeting. O’Geary’s combined service to Henderson spanned 20 years, 12 as a councilman and eight as Mayor.
As a part of an outgoing ceremony for Councilman Kearney, he received a key to the City of Henderson from City Manager Frank Frazier. Kearney said, “It has been my distinct pleasure to serve the citizens of Henderson, particularly those of ward 1 for the last four-plus years. To my colleagues, it has been my pleasure to work with you. We have had some lively exchanges, and we have had some that were quite congenial (where) everyone was in agreement. All in all, we served the citizens with professionalism.” Kearney urged incoming council members and the mayor to “rule with your head, but lead with your heart.”
Outgoing councilwoman Brenda Peace could not attend the meeting because of a prior duty with her church, where she and others were volunteering in the neighborhoods around the church. Mayor O’Geary read a letter that Peace submitted. Peace said in the letter, “Ms. Elliott, please feel the hearty handshake and warm embrace that I would have shared with you as we exchanged seats. Once again, I congratulate you in your victory.” Peace praised the incumbents and newly elected members and expressed much gratitude. She said to the citizens, “I say thank you for the confidence you have had in me (for the past eight years.) The experience has enhanced me and broadened my horizons.”
Also sworn in were re-elected incumbents George Daye and Mike Rainey.