BUCKHANNON - Both a Buckhannon City Council newcomer and an incumbent were sworn in to office Tuesday morning.
Assistant City Recorder Amby Jenkins administered the oath of office to City Recorder Rick Edwards Monday morning. Edwards then administered the oaths of office to City Council members Mary Albaugh, a newcomer, and Tom O'Neill, who is serving his first full term since his appointment to a vacant seat a year ago.
"I'm honored and privileged to be able to give those oaths today," Edwards said. "That's my first time ever doing it... I'm really excited for the opportunity to be able to work with the city."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Buckhannon City Recorder Rick Edwards, left, administers the oath of office Tuesday to Buckhannon City Council member Tom O’Neill.
Edwards said he wants to carry on the traditions of the city recorders who served before him, but also to upgrade from the old paper filing system to a codified system.
"I'm really looking forward to this," Albaugh said of being sworn in to serve on City Council. "I'm ready. I'm focused. These last few years have given me a lot of pre-training working in the community. Maybe that's why I got elected, because I was out there doing that volunteering. Volunteering is one of the most important things you can do as a citizen within our community."
Albaugh said she recently brought a new idea to Mayor Kenneth Davidson: that Albaugh, and possibly other members of Council, will volunteer several hours of their time to be available at City Hall to meet with anyone who has questions, comments or concerns.
"People sometimes hold it in until it festers," Albaugh said. "Then it's a fireball. We've got to stop that."
Albaugh said she hopes other members will participate, and that she plans to be available from 10 a.m. to noon on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. She said the back door at City Hall would be open during the time
O'Neill said his past year on Council helped to get him through the initial learning curve and he is ready and happy to serve a four-year term.
"I'm really just thrilled to have another four years to continue what we have started to do over the past year," O'Neill said. "I know I've said it before, I feel like I've been through the learning curve... You're always learning... I feel like I'm well-positioned to be of help. That's just really what I want to be, is I want to be of help to the city."
O'Neill said he wants to maintain Buckhannon's "outstanding financial situation." He said that was the Council's first responsibility, but the city has seen declines in revenue from severance taxes and an economic "slow down." O'Neill said Buckhannon is well-managed and fiscally responsible.
O'Neill said he would like to combat the growing drug problem in Buckhannon.
"Ultimately, what we're trying to do here is to keep Buckhannon a great place, help further it as a great place to live for people to raise families, and an attractive place for people to relocate, start and grow businesses," O'Neill said.