SALISBURY — The Salisbury City Council looks like a much different entity after Monday’s reorganization meeting.
Former President Louise Smith and former Vice-President Gary Comegys both called this term their last and were replaced by Tim Spies and Laura Mitchell.
Second term member Terry Cohen was unanimously elected as president, while fellow second-termer Deborah Campbell narrowly edged out newcomer Mitchell for the vice presidency.
“Ladies and gentleman, this is a great night for Salisbury,” said Mayor James Ireton, who congratulated the incoming representatives and praised the departing.
“We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors,” he told Comegys and Smith, leading to one of many standing ovations.
“Tonight may be a small moment, but it has a big meaning,” said Smith.
Smith too, congratulated the newcomers while thanking her colleagues, both those leaving and those staying, for the work they’ve done over the last four years.
“It’s been quite a journey,” said Smith. “We made this city stronger.”
Smith pointed out that the new council would have big shoes to fill and a tough record to maintain. Over the last four years, the previous council passed 88 percent of resolutions, 83 percent of ordinances, and both the fiscal year 2010 and fiscal year 2011 budgets unanimously.
“We’ve done a lot of good things,” said Smith.
Comegys called the moment “a bittersweet day.”
“I wasn’t looking forward to this,” he said.
For the last year, Comegys has been battling cancer, which he admitted has taken a toll on him and influenced his decision not to run for a third term. However, he hopes to one day return to the political field.
Councilwoman Eugenie Shields added her voice to those hoping to prepare the newcomers for the council.
“They will begin a new era in their lives,” said Shields. “Let there be civility in this new council, and let it begin with me.”
After the changing of the guard, it was time to find new officers. Spies nominated Campbell as president immediately, but she declined, instead nominating Cohen. Spies seconded Campbell’s nomination. Cohen won the seat unanimously.
The council broke their unanimous streak for vice president. Shields nominated Mitchell, who seconded the nomination herself. But Spies nominated Campbell, who also seconded herself. When it came time for Cohen to cast the deciding vote, she chose to endorse Campbell.