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Woodland takes new direction

WOODLAND – Transition and honor.

Those two words defined the Woodland Board of Commissioners meeting here Thursday evening.

While a new mayor and board were sworn in and seated, the newly-elected town officials took time to pay tribute to those who had served before.

Before the meeting was called to order, Jay Jenkins took the oath of office as the town’s new mayor. His wife, Teresa, was at his side holding the Bible on which he swore the oath.

Moments later, Commissioners Les Clark and David Cooper were sworn in for their second term alongside incoming Commissioners Joe Mitchell and Joe Blythe.

As Jenkins called the meeting to order, he immediately recognized Representative Michael Wray (D-27th), who attended the swearing in ceremony.

&uot;Congratulations to you, mayor, and the board members,&uot; Wray said. &uot;In my journey in the General Assembly, I’ve found it’s important even when we are not in session to work for the people of North Carolina.

&uot;Don’t hesitate to call if you need me,&uot; he continued. &uot;I am here to work for you and with you. I live in Gaston, but I know where the town of Woodland is. God bless you on your journey.&uot;

Jenkins said he was thankful to the citizens of Woodland who came out for the meeting and for their support of the town.

He then recognized outgoing Mayor Margaret Burgwyn for her 14 years of service to the Board. She was presented with a plaque, her nameplate and the gavel she used to preside over the meetings.

Commissioner Thomasena Boone was honored for her 14 years of service to the Board and Commissioner Beth Phillips was honored for her two terms as a commissioner.

As the Board began deliberations, Jenkins said members should choose a Mayor Pro-Tempore and Commissioner Blythe nominated Clark. The motion passed unanimously.

As the Board reorganizes, commissioners are assigned departments to oversee by the mayor. Jenkins told Board members Thursday that he would not make the assignment during the December meeting.

&uot;I want to meet with you individually and find out what departments you are interested in and where your strengths are,&uot; Jenkins said. &uot;I don’t want to appoint someone somewhere they don’t want to serve and won’t do a good job.

&uot;This isn’t about you or me, it’s about what is best for the town of Woodland,&uot; he added. &uot;I would like to take the next month and do that. If that is satisfactory to the Board, I will come back in January with appointments that will benefit the citizens of Woodland.&uot;

All Board members agreed to the timetable suggested by the mayor.

In other business, the Board:

* approved drug testing for all Commercial Driver’s License holders in the town as required by law;

* heard from Mayor Jenkins that he will meet with a representative from the United States Department of Agriculture in reference to grant funding;

* approved sending a letter of thanks to Fineline Industries for the purchase of new Christmas decorations;

* agreed with the mayor to add a second public comment section to each board agenda at the end of the meeting; and

* discussed truck parking in the town.