Ward C Waynesboro City Councilman Bobby Henderson was selected the city’s mayor during a council organizational meeting Monday night.
Henderson’s selection came by a unanimous 5-0 council vote.
Lana Williams, the new member of council representing Ward A, was selected vice mayor by a 3-2 vote.
Henderson, who is starting his third year on council, will serve a term of two years. He replaces Terry Short as the city’s mayor.
Henderson said it is clear what the city’s top priority is.
“Revenue is number one for all council members,” he said.
He said the city continues to have revenue shortfalls because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Revenue losses because of the crisis make economic development in the city even more of a priority, Henderson said.
“We will be getting people in and talking about economic opportunities,” he said. “We need to focus on that (economic development} more than ever.”
Henderson said the four holdover members of council have “worked well” for the past two years. He expects a strong contribution from Williams.
“I think she will jump in and be a good asset and move the city forward,” he said.
Short spoke appreciatively of his tenure as the city’s mayor the past two years.
“It has been an absolute honor to have served in a leadership position. I wish Bobby all the success in the world. I am looking forward to working collaboratively with him,” Short said.
Short said the city must continue to provide residents with core services despite the current economic challenge.
Those services include a working 911 system, clean water and a “top notch” sewer system, he said.
The city showed foresight in establishing a capital improvement plan and assessing tax increases, Short said. Otherwise, he said, “we would be in a more precarious position. The city is positioned well.”
Short’s hope once the coronavirus is controlled and the economy improves, is for the city to revisit a compensation study.
It is vital for the city to increase compensation for police, fire and the Waynesboro’s teachers, Short said.
“We can’t be a community where 75 percent of the labor force is below the market rate,” he said.
Regarding the coronavirus, Deputy City Manager Jim Shaw spoke to the council about the recent surge in cases in Waynesboro. Since the last council meeting three weeks ago, Shaw said reported cases have nearly doubled to 125.