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Newcomers installed on village council

By Jim Buice

The Clemmons Courier

The seating arrangement at the long table up front in Village Hall took on a different look Monday night as John Wait was sworn in as the mayor of Clemmons along with three new council members – Michelle Barson, Scott Binkley and P.J. Lofland.

The four newcomers were sworn in by four different judges as an overflow crowd was on hand for the festivities.

Meanwhile, it was a night to bid farewell to Nick Nelson, who opted not to seek reelection as mayor, and three incumbent council members – Mary Cameron, Lanny Farmer and Mike Rogers. The first half of the meeting was completed with those four being recognized.

That was followed by a reception before Wait received the oath of office as mayor from the Honorable Judge Ted Kazakos. Barson then received her oath from the Honorable Judge Lawrence Fine, followed by Binkley (who received his oath from the Honorable Judge David Sipprell) and Lofland (who received her oath from the Honorable Judge Richard Gottlieb). After receiving their oaths, all four political newcomers took their seats up front with remaining council members Mike Combest and Chris Wrights.

Barson, who was the top vote-getter in the November election, then received the oath as mayor pro tem.

In concluding comments, Wait said he had felt “the weight of the election ever since it happened” and pledged to uphold the legacy established in the past by previous councils and mayors, realizing “we’re going to face difficult decisions and difficult tasks as we go forward.”

Earlier in the meeting, Nelson said he would stay involved in the community despite leaving as mayor and said he was thankful for the opportunity to serve, adding, “I know there are plenty of challenges ahead, but the passion in me is still there.”

Combest prepared scripted remarks about their personal qualities and contributions as he introduced Nelson, who served two years on the council and the last four years as mayor, and the outgoing council members.

It was the final council meeting for Cameron, who served six terms and 24 of the government’s 32 years.

“She is truly a historical figure in our Village,” Combest said. “I believe she is the longest-serving elected official in the history of our Village.”

Cameron expressed her thanks to the her husband “for putting up with a lot of council stuff” for all these years, the staff for the being the best in the state, the four fellow council members and the citizens of Clemmons for putting their trust in her for 24 years.

“It’s an honor I’ll always cherish,” she said. “It’s been a pure pleasure most of the time.”

Rogers expressed his thanks “from the bottom of my heart” to the council, staff and everyone involved in the progress made during his six years on the council.

Farmer said it was a “deep honor of mine” to have served on the council for the last two years and “something I never in my life would have imagined would happen.”

In other business, the council:

• Appointed Wait as the Transportation Advisory Committee representative and Combest as the alternate.

• Appointed Barson as the Piedmont Triad Regional Council representative.

• Appointed Binkley as the liaison on the Stormwater Advisory Board.

• Adopted the 2018 meeting and holiday schedule.

• Announced that the schedule for Christmas and New Year’s trash and recycling pickup would be delayed one day each week with pickups being Tuesday through Saturday.

• Announced that E-Recycle will take place at the Public Works facility on Saturday, Jan. 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Heard from Thomas Jones during the public comments portion of the meeting. He read a poem that he wrote for the Courier in June 2014 about Cameron and Rogers at the end of a letter to the editor, stating at the end – “wave goodbye and go” and then thanked them for their service.

• Heard from Art Frauenhofer about the “excellent job” the mayor and council have done in the last two years, even though he didn’t agree with everything, and hoped the new council would follow in their path. He added that “this median thing has been overemphasized during the election” and hopes the new council “waits to see what the DOT comes up with.”

• Heard from Robin Dean, who said he continues to do his homework on traffic flow and safety, and that “the median is the only reality to solving the problem.”

• Heard from Ron Joyce, who came to present a copy of the constitution of the state of North Carolina to the incoming mayor and council members. He said he was made aware last year that there were no printed copies of the N.C. constitution, and that money was raised to print thousands of copies.