Local Interest
3:11 am
Wed July 12, 2006

Wilmington Swears in New Mayor, Councilman

Wilmington, NC – The crowd filled every available space in the Council chambers, and lined the balcony. Everyone from family members to aggrieved firefighters turned out for the transfer of power at last night's City Council meeting.

Mayor Saffo was sworn in by the man he replaces, out-going mayor Spence Broadhurst. Speaking during the reception afterward, Saffo said he would try to lead the Council in the style of Broadhurst, which he described as "more business-like, do your homework, ask your questions before you come to the meeting, debate the issues in public, and get the agenda moving forward."

Saffo said he would continue several long-standing projects before the council, including the push for a convention center and repairs to the city's sewer system.

The new mayor only had to move a few chairs over to take his new place in the Council chambers. Filling his old seat at the table is attorney J.C. Hearne, who was selected for the position by the City Council last month.

Addressing the crowd after being sworn in last night, Hearne said the city has some big issues to tackle.

"And hopefully the next three months just gets us started to the next wave of solving some issues and some problems, and I know that without you all's support and involvement, we cannot solve those issues," he said.

Hearne joked he hopes he doesn't have the shortest tenure ever on the council - his seat comes open in a special election this October.

It was Broadhurst who got the evening's biggest laugh when, through a slip of the tongue, he nearly swore Saffo in as mayor of 'Wilson,' North Carolina, before swiftly correcting himself. The out-going mayor left the chamber with the nameplate from his desk, a personalized parking space marker, and a brand new gavel, all gifts of the Council.