City Clerk Angela Holmes, right, administers the oath of office to Mayor Mike Foley. With Foley is his wife Jessica and son Joseph. Chance Viles/American Journal

WESTBROOK — There were smiles, thanks and bestowed honors all around Monday night as Mayor Mike Foley and members of the City Council and School Committee were inaugurated Monday evening.

The inauguration ceremony marked Foley’s move from At-large city councilor to his new job in the city’s chief elected position. Outgoing Mayor Mike Sanphy was honored at the ceremony at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center by being named the city’s first official historian. The ceremony was dedicated to Ann Peoples, a city councilor and state representative who died last month.

The new City Council from left, Claude Rwaganje, David Morse, Victor Chau, Anna Turcotte, Gary Rairdon and Elliot Storey. Council Michael Shaugnessy is not pictured. Chance Viles / American Journal

“Now that the race has concluded, it is our duty to move on and govern,” Foley said in an address after he was sworn into office by City Clerk Angela Holmes. “We have so much more to do if we want to succeed. We are a little city with big challenges, and as your mayor, I will lead us.”

During his address, Foley reappointed every city department head.

 

Former mayoral candidate Michael Shaughnessy was sworn in to fill the remainder of Michael Foley’s at-large term. council seat, left by Foley. Chance Viles / American JournalHe appointed City Councilor Michael  Shaughnessy to spearhead a “strong neighborhood initiative” to address issues in specific neighborhoods and to build community pride, which was a major part of Shaughnessy’s platform in his mayoral campaign this fall.

Foley reiterated some of his fiscal plans, including cutting borrowing for things like road work, opting to take a grant approach to pay for projects and building a capital fund for city maintenance.

He hopes to reopen the senior tax break process, started by Sanphy, this year so seniors can make use the remaining balance in the fund of about $25,000.

Former mayoral candidate Michael Shaughnessy is sworn in to fill the remainder of Michael Foley’s at-large term. council seat, left by Foley. Chance Viles / American Journal

“This is a major help for our seniors, and can mean the difference between staying in their homes,” Foley said.

Foley also echoed much of his campaign platform during his speech, saying he will push to foster businesses to create a larger property tax base to alleviate the tax burden of Westbrook residents. He said he will push to add a second traffic enforcement officer to the Police Department.

Foley also paid tribute to Sanphy. In addition to naming him city historian, Foley presented Sanphy with a chair commemorating his years of service as mayor, city councilor, police officer, firefighter and president of the Westbrook Historical Society.

“Whether someone is a lifelong friend or someone you just met, you see the best in people. You have a quite impressive resume, yet you’ve always stayed humble,” Foley said of Sanphy.

“Thank you, and good luck,” Sanphy said, before leaving the stage.

Also inaugurated were At-large Councilor Claude Rwaganje, Shaughnessy, filling in for Foley’s vacated At-large term; Ward 1 Councilor David Morse; Ward 5 Councilor Elliot Storey; and the re-elected Ward 2 Councilor Victor Chau.

Mayor Mike Foley and former Mayor Mike Sanphy present Suzanne Joyce with a key to the city. Chance Viles / American Journal

Councilors reelected Ward 4 Councilor Gary Rairdon as council president, and Rairdon re-appointed Ward 3 Councilor Anna Turcotte as vice president.

Taking office on the School Committee Monday were newcomer Jeremy McGowan, At-large; Mary Hall, Ward 4; and the re-elected Noreen Poitras, Ward 3.

Former School Committee Chairwoman Suzanne Joyce was honored with a key to the city for her years of service on the City Council and for the schools.

“When I think of community spirit, Suzanne Joyce is the first person that comes to mind,” Foley said.

Larry McWilliams, the Ward 5 representative who lost to Storey last month, also received thanks.

While the ceremony was dedicated to Peoples, tributes to her were held in reserve for services scheduled for Dec. 14. as her family was not able to attend the inauguration. Former City Councilor Brendan Rielly, in Monday night’s opening address, did pay homage to her.

“Looking back on Ann’s career, what strikes me most was she was never a bomb thrower, she was a builder of bridges,” Rielly said.

An inaugural ball celebrating the new officials is set for Jan. 25 at the Dana Warp Mill. The ball will be funded by tickets to the event, and will use no tax money, Foley said.

 

Pastor Larry Strondak leads Mike Foley, wife Jessica and son Joseph in prayer Monday before Foley takes the oath of office. Chance Viles / American Journal

 

The police watch the City Band. Chief Janine Roberts, at right, was reappointed Monday night, as were all other department heads in the city. Chance Viles / American Journal

The School Committee. From left to right: Beth Schultz, Mary Hall, Noreen Poitras, Veronica Bates, Steve Berry, Suzanne Salisbury and Jeremy McGowan. Chance Viles / American Journal

 

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