“Let’s get to work and get things done.” That statement by the newest member of Portsmouth City Council, Tom Lowe of the Sixth Ward set the tone for what Portsmouth City Council hopes will be a productive and successful year.
A new vice president and two new members highlighted the annual organizational meeting of Portsmouth City Council Monday evening. Fourth Ward Councilman Jim Kalb who was returned Fourth Ward representative, was re-elected mayor and Third Ward Councilman Kevin E. Johnson was elected vice president of Council, while Jo Ann Aeh was sworn in as Second Ward Council representative and Lowe was sworn in as Sixth Ward representative.
“I feel good about it,” Lowe told the Daily Times. “I’m just looking to do good things and help the people of the Sixth Ward. Without them I wouldn’t be sitting here. I appreciate their vote last November and I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to be working with everybody. I don’t forsee any problems. I don’t see a conflict of any kind yet, but you never know. But we’ll take one way at a time, one meeting at a time, and do what we can to see if we can bring this city back and go from there.”
Aeh said she too is looking forward to the challenges ahead.
“It is a little different from what I did for so many years,” Aeh said, reflecting on the fact that she was for many years city clerk. “I don’t have to go back and type minutes. I get to go home. It wasn’t what I had planned for my retirement, but the opportunity came up and I decided to take it.”
Kalb has had the distinction of serving as mayor of the city on two levels. He was mayor during the strong mayor form of government which preceded the city manager system. Since then he has been the mayor that is essentially president of City Council.
This will be the first term in which Kevin E. Johnson will serve as vice president.
“I’m very very honored to serve the city that I love and those that I serve with on Council,” Kevin E. Johnson said. “I thank the citizens. I look forward to 2016.”
Diana Ratliff was again appointed clerk of the city of Portsmouth and Council accepted the letter from the City Auditor regarding performance bonds.
“I’m required to make sure that I have received all bonds for all elected officials,” City Auditor Trent Williams said. “They are all kept in my office except for my bond which is kept in the City Clerk’s office.”
First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson proposed three amendments to the Rules for the Government of Council. The first was to create the title “unfinished business,” which would include tabled legislation when it comes back up. The second was that all legislation shall be introduced at the city manager’s conference agenda changing the wording from “mayor.” The third amendment dealt with the way council appointments are made. Now appointments will be announced at a conference agenda for potential advice, feedback and further consideration. All amendments passed unanimously.
City Solicitor John Haas (left) swears in Tom Lowe as the new Sixth Ward City Council member.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.