New Mayor and Councilmembers Take Oath of Office In Ronceverte

After several debates and an election, Ronceverte could finally swear in a new mayor and three new council members on Thursday, July 1.

Mayor Deena Pack was sworn in by now-former Mayor David Smith.

“My last official duty is to get to do this,” said Smith.

Pack then took the oath of office and thanked her supporters.

“I will do my best, it’s really an honor to be in this position,” said Pack. “I’m nervous and excited and pretty much every emotion you can think of all wrapped into one. I appreciate the support that we have, there’s a lot of excitement we have and I’m looking forward to working with the City Council and [City Administrator] Pam [Mentz] who, if anyone hasn’t told her lately, is phenomenal. Bob [Hazelwood of E.L. Robinson] and Steve [Williams with the city], you guys are amazing and I appreciate everything you do for Ronceverte.”

David Smith and Deena Pack

During the election, Pack actively supported Ronceverte’s ongoing water projects as a main way to get water rates down and sought to revitalize downtown. Previously serving as a council member and city recorder, Pack has a combination of familiarity with the issues and a fresher perspective than the council that she first joined three years ago.

“I do want people to know that we are doing everything we can to help the people of Ronceverte and move the town forward,” Pack said. “I’m just looking forward to working on that and continuing the things we’ve already started. I appreciate all the support.”

After handing over his gavel, Smith moved aside and Pack took the reins of the meeting.

“It’s an honor for my first official act as mayor to swear in some pretty amazing people to serve on City Council,” Pack said. “First is Leah Smith. … Next, we have Kathy King. … And last, but not least, Ms. Tonya Hazelwood.”

Each of the three took the oath of office for the Ronceverte City Council.

“I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of West Virginia, and I will faithfully and impartially perform the duties of councilmember for the city of Ronceverte, so long as I shall continue therein, to the best of my skill and judgment,” said each of the three new councilmembers.

“Thank you guys and to everyone that supported me,” Hazelwood said after being sworn in. “It’s an honor to be sitting up here, to be with this group of people. I can not wait to see where we’ll be in the next couple of years because I think it’s going to be phenomenal.”

Tonya Hazelwood

Echoing Hazelwood’s comments, Leah Smith said she was “excited for Ronceverte” and its future.

Leah Smith

“Can we read by title only?” King joked just before taking the oath of office.

Kathy King

At a previous meeting of City Council, former Mayor David Smith endorsed much of the leadership then freshly-appointed on the council and now recently elected to serve.

“I feel like, right now, we have an amazingly strong council,” Smith said. “We’ve got Kathy King, who is super involved in nonprofits in town, as well as her years of experience with the board of education and being president of the board. Cherie Davis, who serves on a number of committees and heads our library, we’ve got Leah [Smith] and Deena Pack, who have doctorates of jurisprudence and are involved in a number of activities and things involved in town. Gayle White, who has been mayor before, and is on a number of committees. Hopefully, those people are going to run and keep the council strong.”

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