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Greenville City Council sworn in, ready to get to business

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P.J. Connelly raises his right hand as he is sworn in to public office as Mayor, at the Greenville City Hall Monday evening.


By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

With the new Greenville City Council sworn in and District 2 Councilwoman Rose Glover appointed mayor pro-tem, members said they were ready to get down to business.

Council chambers were packed on Monday for the swearing-in ceremony of the newly elected council. New and old council members alike were surrounded by supporters and family members for the event. 

Monday's ceremony marked the beginning of two-year terms for Connelly and newly-elected Council members Kandie Smith (District 1), Glover (District 2), Will Bell (District 3), Rick Smiley (District 4), William Litchfield (District 5), and Brian Meyerhoeffer (At-large).

The only matter of business on Monday night’s agenda, the first technical council meeting for the new representatives was the appointment of a new pro-tem. Glover was appointed by unanimous vote immediately following the swearing in ceremony. Glover, the longest sitting member of the council, has served as the mayor pro-tem under Mayor Kandie Smith since June.

At the end of the meeting, Connelly read a news release that highlighted changes on the council, cataloged Greenville’s various assets and stated the new members commitment to growing city’s businesses and economy.

"I want to let everyone know that Greenville means business," Connelly said, quoting the release. "Moving forward, we will focus on growing the tax base, maintaining and improving our infrastructure, and enhancing public safety in an effort to make our city more appealing to both businesses and families. We are on a great trajectory but we must be sure to partner with our local, state, and federal leaders to further advance our community to the next level. A strong emphasis will be placed on a joint effort to grow our community as a whole, not separate like we have seen in the past. If we truly want to take Greenville to the next level, we will work together to achieve greatness."

Connelly said the city has laid the groundwork for more than $600 million that has been invested in the downtown district during the past decade. Greenville can also boast valuable assets such as ECU, one of only three in the country with a medical, dental, and engineering school, and Pitt Community College, he said. 

Connelly said afterward that he thought it was important to begin fulfilling the promises that he and other council members ran on during the campaign season. 

“We’ve been talking about bringing jobs to the community and I think it’s important that we finally go ahead and make an initiative to move forward and bring jobs,” he said. “Because if we want to be able to retain some of the top talent that we graduate from Pitt Community College and East Carolina on an annual basis, we’ve got to have jobs that are readily available to them, so they’ll stay here and raise families. 

Other newly elected members echoed Connelly’s business priorities. Meyerhoeffer said that, among other things, he wanted to work on setting up a small business concierge, who would be the one-stop resource for individuals interested in setting up a business in Greenville. 

“From a long-term perspective, like Mayor Connelly said, I think we can do a better job of cultivating an environment that would be business-friendly and create more, better paying jobs, and attract and recruiting bigger business to Greenville,” he said. 

The ceremony was preceded by a flag ceremony by the Greenville Fire and Rescue Color Guard, accompanied by music from the Greenville Public Safety Pipes and Drums group.

Contact Seth Gulledge at sgulledge@reflector.com and 329-9579. Follow him on Twitter @GulledgeSeth