Williamsburg has a new mayor.
City Council unanimously voted Doug Pons to be the city’s new mayor during a swearing-in ceremony at the Courthouse of 1776 Wednesday.
Those sworn in to the City Council were Barbara Ramsey and newcomers Pat Dent and Caleb Rogers.
Pons has served on the City Council since 2010 and was elected as Vice Mayor in 2018. He will replace former Mayor Paul Freiling, who had served on the council since 2004 and was elected Mayor in 2016. Freiling attended the ceremony dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, and nodded appreciatively as some new members of the council expressed their gratitude for his previous work.
“Your dedication to the city, the council and appointed commissions does not go unnoticed,” Rogers said.
City Council also unanimously elected Dent as new vice mayor. Dent has a long history with the city, having served as the chief of the Williamsburg Fire Department since 2009.
“I know there are a lot of challenges ahead of us but I also know there are a lot of exciting opportunities and I look forward to them,” Dent said. “I am ready to get to work for the City of Williamsburg.”
Guests at the ceremony were required to wear masks and were spaced apart as a health precaution. Family members of the elected officials sat in front, snapping photos and clapping for their new representative.
Dent, Ramsey and Rogers were elected to the City Council in May.
Council members expressed their gratitude for voter patience and support during the election. Dent described it as a “challenging” election cycle because the coronavirus altered the way many voters were used to casting their ballots.
“I want to thank all the voters that came out because it was a challenging time for them as well,” Dent said. “Whether they voted absentee ballots or faithfully through the electoral board as they provided a drive-thru polling location that allowed them to minimize their exposure to potential coronavirus.”
Ramsey has served on the City Council since 2016. She thanked Freiling and former council member Benny Zhang, who did not seek reelection, for their work.
“We have had a number of decisions over the last few years and a number of decisions, many of them hard, in the next four years,” Ramsey. “I have learned that not everyone will be pleased with the outcomes but I will continue to do my part.”
Rogers, who is not only a new member but the youngest, expressed his desire to serve while his mother watched on proudly from the crowd. After being sworn in, he said he recently discovered that an ancestor had also served as alderman for Williamsburg in 1779, during a time when the United States was going through a “tumultuous” period.
“We are still in incredibly tumultuous times,” Rogers said. “I won’t go into and elaborate on all we might be going through right now, but it means as much personally, the need for social distancing and resounding rightful cause for racial reprieve, but I will say this: that is, I could not be more comfortable to join this team at this time.”
The ceremony also reaffirmed the appointment of Sandi Flicko as clerk of council, Christina Shelton as city attorney and Andrew Trivette as city manager.
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