There was a changing of the guard at Monday night’s Mebane City Council meeting, as Glendel Stephenson called to order his final meeting as Mebane’s Mayor after 35 years of service to the town dating all the way back to 1975.
Soon after, longtime City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Ed Hooks took the oath of office to become Mebane’s new Mayor, while a newly-elected resident - Sean C. Ewing - also took his place on the Mebane City Council.
Hooks had his children, grandchildren, and extended family join him at the front as he took the oath of office to become Mebane’s new Mayor. After Hooks took his oath, Patty Philipps took her oath of office to begin serving another four-year term on the City Council, while Ewing was sworn in for his first term on the elected board by Alamance County District Court Judge Larry Brown.
“We have the honorable Judge Larry Brown here. He’s one of the outstanding jurists here in Alamance County. It’s good to have you here, and be part of this occasion,” Mayor Stephenson said prior to his departure.
Stephenson and his wife provided a few final words before they left the complex that is now named in honor of the longtime Mayor - the Glendel Stephenson Municipal Building. The outgoing Mayor and his wife Pat left to a standing ovation from the City Council, Mayor, and spectators at the meeting.
“I want to thank you again for allowing me to serve as the Mayor of the City of Mebane for 35 years. It’s been one of the highlights and great privileges of my life to do that,” Stephenson said as he prepared to depart. “This city is just going to continue to grow and do well. And it’s going to do well because of people just like you. We have lots of new folks coming to Mebane, and they are enriching our lives. Mebane is a better place because of the new folks who have come - and because of the old, seasoned folks who are here now.”
“I just wanted to say a word to all of our Department heads, and to all of our 130 or so employees. I thank you for what you do. The administration of the City and the Council is no better than the people who support it. And we’ve got a super group here,” Stephenson concluded. “As Pat and I leave tonight, we wish you well. The city is going to do great. God Bless You. Thank you for being part of our City. What a great day it is to be in Mebane, Alamance County, North Carolina, USA.”
Mayor Hooks moved one seat over to the right, stepping out of his longtime Mayor Pro Tem seat to the immediate right of Stephenson, and into the Mayor’s seat.
“What an exciting time for the citizens and the City of Mebane,” Hooks said. “It’s exciting to be up here. It’s definitely going to be hard to replace him (Stephenson). But we’re going to certainly try.”
Following Stephenson’s departure, the City Council selected Jill Auditori as the new Mayor Pro Tem, replacing Hooks. Philipps nominated Auditori for the position, while Tim Bradley seconded. Auditori was unanimously voted as the new Mayor Pro Tem by her colleagues, and subsequently took her own oath of office.
The City Council then moved quickly to fill the vacancy left behind by Hooks’ move from the elected board into the Mayor’s seat. The board decided to bring back Everette Greene, who finished third in November’s general election, to fill Hooks’ remaining two years on his current term, which concludes in the fall of 2021.
“We have a vacant seat that needs to be filled, with the election complete and certified,” City Manager David Cheek explained.
“Mayor, we just completed an election, where the electorate voted. We had six fine candidates,” Bradley said. “I think it would be appropriate - it’s a short term, two years, a short learning curve - Everette Greene finished third in the election by a clear vote. So I would put Everette Greene’s name up to fill the position.”
Philipps seconded Bradley’s motion, and the City Council unanimously approved Greene by a 4-0 vote to be re-appointed to the board. Greene took the oath of office and rejoined his colleagues - albeit this time to Hooks’ immediate right, and not two seats over to his left, as has been the seating at City Council meetings for the past several years.
With Mebane’s new town leadership officially in place, the City can begin looking ahead to a new decade, new challenges, and new opportunities.
Monday was certainly the end of a proud and dignified era in Mebane’s history with Stephenson’s departure. But as Stephenson alluded to in his closing words, Mebane has much to look forward to in the 2020s and beyond.