S. Bethany on new course

When South Bethany Mayor Jay Headman kicked off the town’s reorganizational meeting on Saturday, June 5, a new era had officially begun. Headman was recently elected to replace Gary Jayne, who had served as mayor of the town for the past six years and had stepped aside only after reaching the end of his allowed two terms without at least a year’s break.

And Headman was not the only face in a new seat at the meeting.

While John Fields held on to his council spot in the May 29 town election, newcomers George Junkin Jr. and Sue Callaway also got the support of South Bethany voters to add their contributions to the town’s future. The new members were sworn in Saturday morning by Headman to start the organizational meeting, and then the group got right to business.

Headman appointed Fields to serve as mayor pro-tem – a position formerly held by retired council member Marge Gassinger – Timothy Saxton to again assume the position of treasurer and Robert Youngs to act as secretary. All the appointments met with unanimous approval from the council, though Saxton was out of the country for business purposes and was unable to attend.

Fields then asked that the town’s rules of procedures be reviewed, noting the fact that they have been in use for the past 11 years. Headman said that he wanted them to be approved as-is at the beginning of the June 5 meeting, so the council had procedures to follow, but he suggested that they could be put up for review in council workshops in the future. The group quickly moved along to committee assignments.

Youngs will chair the Assawoman Canal Dredge Committee; Callaway will head the Beautification Committee; Saxton the Budget and Finance Committee; Junkin the Canal Water Quality Committee and Planning Commission, and Fields the Charter Changes Committee.

Headman said he will also establish the Richard Hall Memorial Park Committee, which will be charged with coming up with an estimated timeline and process for feedback, and to create an informational document on the proposed park adjacent to town hall.

There is no specific timeline for the new committee to start at this point, as Headman said he wanted to reach out to proponents and critics of the park proposal to get a well-rounded group.

The new council also discussed scheduling for future meetings. It was decided that workshops would be held at 6 p.m. and regular town council meetings will remain at 7 p.m.

The council members then entered into an executive session to discuss individual citizens’ qualifications to fill the spot on council vacated by Headman when he was sworn in as mayor. After reconvening the public meeting, Headman announced that they were not prepared to fill the seat at that time and would continue to do research on a suitable replacement.