Panel has 45 days to fill vice mayor slot
By Elizabeth Wilkerson - firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Vice Mayor Carlyle Swafford has resigned his seat on the Strasburg Town Council.
In his resignation letter to Mayor Tim Taylor, which is dated Aug. 21, Swafford writes that he has accepted a job as director of operations for Pennrose Management Co. in Philadelphia after "an extensive job search lasting 3 months." He was scheduled to begin work in Philadelphia on Monday, it says, and his resignation became effective Sunday at 12:01 a.m.
Swafford was elected to the panel in May 2008, and his term began on July 1, 2008. He has served as chairman of the council's public safety committee.
On Monday, Swafford said the property management company he worked for, like so many others, had made cutbacks and he had been unemployed for a few months.
"Unfortunately, with the events as they took place, I find myself in Pennsylvania," he said. "In no way did I want to do this. It's something that we as a family were forced to do."
Swafford said his family would continue to live in Strasburg and support the town and its council. Serving the town's residents has been "an honor," he said.
"You have a very dynamic set of personalities on the council, and together they've accomplished a lot," he said. "I think each of us accented our strong points and we covered for our weaknesses.
"I think it's a great council. I think that the town voted in some really fine folks that have Strasburg as their main interest, and not their personal agendas."
Moving forward, it's "extremely important" that town officials "continue the process of positioning [the Strasburg Volunteer Rescue Squad] to be successful," he said.
On Monday, Taylor said he had been in touch with Swafford recently and knew the councilman might have to move out of the area.
"I was happy he was able to find something ... but, obviously, I hate to see him go," Taylor said. "I thought he had a good common sense about him. I do think he represented this community very well."
The council has 45 days to appoint someone to fill Swafford's seat until July 1, when a replacement elected in May will join the panel, Town Manager Kevin Fauber said. Taylor said his understanding is that the fifth-place finisher in the council's May election will fill Swafford's unexpired term, while the four highest vote-getters will fill the four-year terms.
The appointment could happen as soon as the council's Sept. 8 meeting, Taylor said, but "it depends on if we have someone at that time." The council has a work session Saturday, he said, so he'll ask the panel to "start thinking of someone who might be able to fill the spot."
Since Swafford served as vice mayor, the council will have to appoint a member to that position, as well, Taylor said.
Town Attorney Jay Neal said the town's charter, which was recently updated, now provides that the vote of an appointed official is the same as that of an elected official, except where the Virginia Constitution provides otherwise.
"For 95 percent of the things that the council deals with, all the [council members'] votes are going to be the same," he said.