0
Votes

New Town Council Already at Work

Council takes oath of office in front of almost 200 family and friends.

The new mayor and Town Council were sworn in last week in front of almost 200 friends and family in the Herndon Town Council Chambers.

"I thought it was amazing,” said Darryl Smith, a Herndon Police captain and new council member. “I have been to a few ceremonies like that, and it was a wonderful turn out of friends, the community and family. I thought it went very well and it was an experience I'll always remember."

THE CEREMONY began with a brief introduction by mayor-elect Michael O'Reilly, who recognized many town staff and officials in attendance as well as past Town Council members who came to offer support.

The oaths of office were administered by John Frey, clerk of the Circuit Court, Fairfax County in alphabetical order beginning first with the returning three members, Carol Bruce, Dennis Husch and Harlon Reece, and then the new members, Steven Mitchell, Ann Null and Smith. The last oath was given to O'Reilly.

Smith said he hoped this year’s council would “work at coming together as a council to do what's best for Herndon.”

“I think we have a good group of people,” Smith said. “We have the experience and we have some new people, so I think it's a good mix."

He added as a newcomer, “I am willing to work hard … I think I am a fast learner, so I am very excited to get started."

MANY OF THE NEW COUNCIL'S families were present for the ceremony, some more than others.

O'Reilly's immediate family was there along with his four brothers, one in town from Louisiana, and his two sisters, all with their respective families, as well as his two grandchildren.

Each member's immediate family was asked to accompany him or her to the front of the room for the recital of the oath.

Reece said that the council would start its term by meeting with town staff to be briefed on important issues, and from there would develop an action plan for the next two years of the term.

"Most of us, for our campaigns for re-election, dealt with the restructuring of the town," he said, adding that neighborhood protection, day-labor issues and additional parking downtown were also a top priority.

AFTER THE SWEARING IN, O'Reilly closed the ceremony by outlining the three main issues he hopes the council can address during its two-year term, which begins July 1:

* Gang violence and the town's working relationship with members of the special gang violence task force, Fairfax County officials and other organizations;

* Overcrowding which has increased in the last few years as well as the day-laborer issues;

* And the nature center waiting to be built at Runnymede Park.

"It won't be ribbon cutting and all fun," he said, acknowledging the hard work ahead. "Those of you who followed the election see there are issues in our town that need to be addressed."