For outgoing Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, being mayor often felt like being the host of a weekly television show.
Chilton reminisced on his time as Carrboro’s mayor at the Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday.
“I am extremely grateful to the voters of Carrboro for giving me the opportunity to serve on the board,” Chilton said. “It has been a really great experience.”
Chilton passed the baton to Mayor-elect Lydia Lavelle by means of bestowing on her a baseball cap reading “mayor” in huge letters.
“I put this on to think about difficult problems,” Chilton said. “This isn’t the end for me in involvement in the government in our community.”
Re-elected Aldermen Randee Haven-O’Donnell, Sammy Slade and Jacquelyn Gist were sworn in with much enthusiasm.
“We are so lucky to have the challenges that we have,” Gist said. “We have cultural arts in this town that other communities are trying to get.”
Lavelle was sworn in by Beverly Scarlett, a judge and a former classmate in law school at N.C. Central University.
“I know Lydia is a hard worker, committed and someone who believes in everything she does,” Scarlett said.
Lavelle read a resolution honoring Chilton and his service to Carrboro for the past 10 years. She applauded his knowledge of local history and passion for community issues.
When elected to his first town government position on the Chapel Hill Town Council at age 21, Chilton was the youngest elected official in the state, Lavelle said.
Lavelle recited bits of trivia about past mayors of Carrboro who range from attorneys to lumber mill managers, and postmasters to doctors.
“The mayors have certainly been a varied bunch, much like the town we represent,” Lavelle said.
Lavelle, who is North Carolina’s first openly lesbian mayor, said the town is a laboratory in regard to gay and lesbian rights.
Her partner, Alicia Stemper, said she was proud of Lavelle and happy for Carrboro.
“If you’re lucky enough to live in Carrboro, well you’re lucky enough,” Stemper said.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Slade was appointed mayor pro tempore. The position is filled by the senior alderman who has not yet served that role.
“I’m very grateful to this town for being different, so thank you,” Slade said.
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