City Auditor and Clerk Billy Robinson asked city commissioners last week to nominate the mayor to replace the retiring Lou Ann Palmer, and for a couple seconds after his request, the panel sat in silence, with no nominations uttered.
The silence was first broken by some laughter in the audience, and then by Commissioner Kelly Kirschner, who nominated Commissioner Dick Clapp.
Clapp’s fellow commissioners unanimously voted him mayor. Newly elected Commissioner Terry Turner then nominated Kirschner as vice mayor. That vote was also unanimous.
Clapp said under his leadership, the commission will continue to keep the revitalization of Newtown its top priority and will continue to struggle with a tightening budget.
That was the culmination of the city’s statutory commission meeting April 17. Eight former city commissioners and three county commissioners were in attendance to see Palmer and outgoing Vice Mayor Ken Shelin hand their seats over to Turner and Suzanne Atwell, who won last week’s runoff election.
Palmer was ending more than three decades of City Hall service.
“Thank you is not a big enough word for what I feel about this city,” she said. “It’s been a long ride, and it ends today. But I ain’t going away.”
During Shelin’s parting speech, he said he hoped the public viewed him as someone who didn’t “bend to political winds and strived to get as close to doing the right thing” as he could.
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