Friday, December 8, 2023

City swears in new council, names Freiling mayor

New city councilman Benming “Benny” Zhang speaks with city manager Marvin Collins and WJCC Circuit Court Judge Michael McGinty July 1, 2016. (Kirsten Petersen/ WYDaily)
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Three newly-elected city council members—including one who would be appointed mayor—were sworn in Friday morning in historic Williamsburg.

Paul Freiling, who was re-elected to a fourth term in May, took the oath of office at the Courthouse of 1770 along with newcomers Barbara Ramsey, a contractor with Colonial Williamsburg’s Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, and Benming “Benny” Zhang, a recent graduate of the College of William & Mary.

They join attorney Scott Foster and hotelier Doug Pons to form the five-member city council.

The body unanimously appointed Freiling mayor. The longtime Colonial Williamsburg Foundation employee succeeds former mayor Clyde Haulman, who retired from city council after 16 years. City councilwoman Judy Knudson also retired this year after two terms.

Following Freiling’s appointment, the council agreed to appoint Foster vice mayor. When calling the roll for that vote, city council clerk Gerry Walton made a slip of the tongue—naming “Mayor Haulman,” rather than “Mayor Freiling”—that solicited laughter from the packed audience.

The council will convene for its first work session at 4 p.m. July 11 at the Stryker Center.

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