Sixty years of experience left the Smithfield Town Council on Tuesday.
The four council members who did not seek re-election gave their farewells at the meeting: District 1 Councilman Charles Williams, with 24 years on the council; Vic Ogburn of District 3, 20 years; Mayor Daniel Evans, 12 years; and Zach Crocker of District 4, four years.
Williams said he hoped his time on the council had improved peoples’ lives. “Over the years, it’s been a trying time, but we all come through, and I certainly appreciate the support that all the citizens of the town of Smithfield have given to me and encouraged me,” he said.
Ogburn thanked Smithfield citizens for the honor of serving on the council, and he reminded the returning and new town leaders of the importance of their work. “If any of you ... shall ever serve your self-interest or interests that don’t hold the highest honors of Smithfield and move this town forward, you will be doing a disservice to the board, because it is an honor, and it needs to be taken very, very seriously,” he said.
Crocker wished the new council good luck and thanked the people of West Smithfield, his fellow councilmen and town staff for allowing him “to be a part of a very eventful yet fulfilling four years in office.”
“The best interest of the town of Smithfield has been the motivator and driver for all my decisions I’ve made these past four years,” Crocker said, “and I know the Town Council will continue to operate the same way and move the town of Smithfield forward.”
Evans said working together is key, and he emphasized the importance of working with the mayors of nearby towns. “We’ve had some difficult times in our economy, and yet Smithfield continues to move forward,” he said.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Evans was inducted into the Order of the Longleaf Pine, receiving North Carolina’s highest civilian honor.
“Somebody asked me this morning, ‘How does it feel to be free?’” Evans said. “Well, I was free before I got the job. You know, in the sense that I knew what he was saying, I’m never going to be free because I’m always going to work for the town of Smithfield, whether I’m the mayor or not. This is my home.”
A new mayor, three new council members and one returning councilman took their oaths of office on Tuesday. John Lampe is the new mayor. The new councilmen are Marlon Lee in District 1, Travis Scott in District 3 and Roger Wood in District 4. District 2 Councilman Perry Harris won re-election in November.
After the ceremonies, Councilman Emery Ashley, the previous mayor pro tempore, nominated Andy Moore for that post. His selection was unanimous. With no new business on the agenda, the mayor then adjourned the meeting.