Finnerty appointed mayor pro tempore

Published 8:23 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Members of Washington’s new City Council and Mayor Mac Hodges took their oaths of office Monday during a brief ceremony presided over by Superior Court Judge Wayland J. Sermons Jr.

The only new member of the council is Roland Wyman, who replaces Larry Beeman, who did not seek re-election. Hodges presented a plaque to Beeman in recognition of his tenure as a council member.

Richard Brooks, Virginia Finnerty, Doug Mercer and William Pitt retained their council seats by being among the top five vote-getters in last month’s election.

Wyman nominated Finnerty to serve as mayor pro tempore, and the council unanimously elected her to that position. Traditionally, the council elects the top vote-getter in the election to that post. The mayor pro tempore oversees council meetings when the mayor is absent.

During the public-comments section of the meeting, which came before the new council was sworn in, Bill Clark, an unsuccessful candidate in the council election, and Dot Moate expressed concerns that tradition would not be followed.

“Around town, I’m hearing something very, very troubling to me. I’m hearing this not from just once source, but many sources. I’m hearing this from sources from the right, from the left and in the middle of the political persuasion,” Clark said. “I hope what I’m hearing is not true, but just a crazy rumor that has no basis in fact. What I’m hearing is very nontraditional in our city. Please continue to honor the City Council tradition of electing the 2017 election’s to vote-getter, Councilwoman Finnerty.”

Clark said the fact that more voters marked ballots for Finnerty in the council election is proof she has the support of city residents.

“I’m here to request about the same thing that Mr. Clark did and continue a tradition of appointing the mayor pro tem with the person who received the most votes in the last election, and that is Ms. Finnerty. I wish you would continue that. I understand over the last many years there have been two that were not the high vote-getters who were mayor pro tem, but that was a long time ago,” Moate said.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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