red ralph lauren polo Foster chosen as mayor
WILLIAMSBURG Change came to Williamsburg City Council Friday for the first time in six years.
New Council members Barbara Ramsey and Benny Zhang were sworn in before a capacity audience at the Courthouse of 1770, on Duke of Gloucester Street, along with Paul Freiling, who was re elected.
Colonial Williamsburg’s Tom Hay, as Sergeant of the City Hustings Court, welcomed the audience to the ceremony, explaining that the courthouse had been built as a home for the city’s government.
“George Wythe, the first professor of law in the nation and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, whose home is just around the corner from here, served two terms as Williamsburg’s mayor,” Hay said.
He said Peyton Randolph, who chaired the First and Second Continental Congresses, also served in Williamsburg government.
On a table in front of the dais where the councilmembers sat was the Mace of the City of Williamsburg, the original mace created in the 18th century. Well, sort of.
“Colonial Williamsburg acquired it and had it reformed into the mace and presented it to the city,” Hay said.
Freiling, Ramsey and Zhang were sworn in by Williamsburg James City County Circuit Judge Michael McGinty.
They all expressed thanks to the voters who gave them the responsibility of representing the city.
Zhang also thanked Haulman and former City Councilwoman Judy Knudson, who were present, for their “stewardship” of the city, saying Williamsburg had made a lot of progress on their watch.
Haulman and Knudson chose not to run for re election and Ramsey and Zhang were elected to fill the vacant seats created, winning over challengers, businessman Greg Granger and Planning Commissioner Elaine McBeth.
For his part, Haulman said he was confident he was leaving the city in good hands.
“Yes, I believe this is a really good group,” he said after the ceremony. “It’s a very different group, but they are all people who I believe sincerely have the best interest of the community at heart.”
Freiling’s ascension from vice mayor to mayor was expected, and it followed the trend. Haulman served as vice mayor under former mayor Jeanne Zeidler before becoming mayor when she chose not to run again.
Freiling said the new position comes with some new responsibilities.
“Some of them are ceremonial, like ribbon cuttings and some of them are being a representative of the council on regional boards and commissions,” he said. “I think my most important job is to help the council come together to work in the best interest of this community.”
Williamsburg’s mayor also serves as the voice of the city at times, such as when he delivers the bi annual State of the City address.
While Freiling seemed the obvious choice for mayor, the selection of the vice mayor was more of a mystery to the crowd on hand. Both Foster and Pons have equal seniority.
“Oh, it’s Scott.” “It’s Foster,” a murmur went through the audience as Zhang nominated Foster.
After electing a mayor and a vice mayor, council re affirmed the appointments of Clerk of Council Gerry Walton, City Attorney Christina Shelton and City Manager Marvin Collins.
The new council members will get their first taste of council business at a work session Monday, July 11, followed by the regular July meeting on Thursday, July 14.