Making it official: City Council gains new members
The agenda for Monday’s North Augusta City Council meeting was relatively short, but still loaded with symbolism and milestones, as four Council members were sworn in and another completed a 12.5-year stretch in office.
Judge Thomas Murphy administered the oaths of office to newcomers Fletcher Dickert and David McGhee, as well as to incumbent Councilman Pat Carpenter and Mayor Lark Jones.
The mayor, a few minutes before taking the oath, expressed thanks to Councilman Arthur Shealy, an attorney who was unseated in this year’s election, having been in office since November 2000, to replace Don Smith, who had been elected to the state legislature.
Shealy, addressing Monday’s assembly, expressed thanks to his peers and municipal officials for years of interaction. He also borrowed a quote from Winston Churchill. “ Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen,’” he said.
“This morning, when I woke up, I was the youngest member of the North Augusta City Council. Tomorrow morning, when I wake up, I will be just another pretty face.”
He closed with a prayer, asking God for continued blessings on the community and its leaders and for the appropriate mixture of opposition, criticism, failure and success.
Dickert and McGhee, both of whom work in the construction/development business, took their seats for the first time, restoring the Council’s population to seven. The past few months have included only six members, due to Jason Whinghter having resigned this year when he moved a few miles outside the City limits.
The two newcomers “have already shown a great deal of diligence by coming to meetings for the last several months,” the mayor said. “They’ve participated in North Augusta Forward ... They are pretty well-equipped with the knowledge of what’s going on, from both what we’ve provided them with and what they’ve gathered and garnered on their own.”
Aside from the change in leadership, Monday’s meeting included two items.
The first was a proposal for the annexation of a .42-acre tract in Belvedere, at 728 Edgefield Road, to be zoned as “general commercial.” The request won unanimous first- and second-reading approval.
The second item was a proclamation recognizing May 15 as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day.
Included was direction that all flags on City buildings be flown at half-staff on that day in observance of the special designation “and in memory of those law-enforcement officers who, through their courageous deeds, have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their community or have become disabled in the performance of duty, and to honor those law-enforcement officers presently serving the community.”