Portsmouth City Council members were sworn in Monday at their first meeting of the new year.
City Solicitor John Haas was the first to be sworn in with his oath of office being administered by Judge Steven Mowery before the meeting beginning. Solicitor Haas called the meeting to order and was selected as the temporary chairperson to conduct the meeting. Judge Mowery administered the oaths of office for 2nd Ward Councilwoman Charlotte Gordon, 4th Ward Councilman Andrew McManus, and 6th Ward Councilman Thomas Lowe.
Before holding the election of President of Council (who holds the title of Mayor), Solicitor Haas provided some clarification on what that title means for the selectee.
“One thing I would say about this, over the years we have gone back and over the title, the person that sits with the gavel at the meetings. Part of the suggestions that the charter review committee had was that any time the individual is doing things with or on behalf of city council they be referred to as President of Council and should be addressed as such, and on ceremonial endeavors that is when they should be considered Mayor,” said Haas. “That’s one thing I thought we could start off doing this year, is addressing the person selected as President while doing official duties.”
Thomas Lowe nominated Kevin E. Johnson, 3rd Ward Councilman and former President, as President of Council, and council voted unanimously to elect Johnson as President with the title of Mayor.
Sean Dunne was also elected unanimously to the position of Vice President of Council. Council selected Diana Ratliff as acting City Clerk and later appointed Ratliff as Clerk. Johnson, Dunne, and Ratliff were all administered their oaths of office by Judge Mowery.
In other matters of business, the council chose to adopt the rules of City Council and to maintain the current times and dates of regular council meetings.
The meeting closed with remarks from council to citizens. Council members congratulated one another on their appointments, both new and old, and discussed plans for 2020.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do here In the future,” said Councilman Thomas Lowe. “From my previous council experience, we’ve been like a family here. I don’t know if the public really notices, but we don’t bicker and fight. We’re not here for that, we’re here to make the best decisions we can for the city and that’s where I’m at. I’m not here for petty differences, we’re all going to work together and we’re going to push this city forward in a positive direction.”
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932
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