THE STORY The top read story for the Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times in 2013 was the Smyrna Town Council election. After six years, then mayor Pat Stombaugh decided against seeking re-election. So who was up for the challenge of running for mayor? Two council members – Anthony DeFeo and Joanne Masten – decided to throw their hats in the ring for the mayoral seat.
Masten defeated DeFeo in the April 30 election by a vote of 465 to 210 votes. The open at-large seat in the election went to John Embert III with 274 votes over fellow candidates Andrea Rodriguez (255 votes) and Brian David (119 votes). Rodriguez would go on to fill the at-large seat left vacant when Masten won the election.
THE IMPACT Masten hasn't looked back since her term started in the spring. Her goals coming in dealt with developing realistic contracts for police officers and town employees, to ensure there's accountability for every employee, to expanding library services, to see controlled growth, and to bring back a parks and recreation committee.
"It exceeds my expectations and the reason for that is it's because I have the ability and the time to dig more into things whether it's finances, utilities, or something as simplistic as trying to build a library and get funding for the library," Masten said.
Embert said his first few months on council have been a learning experience in reference to the general operations of the town; he's learned things he never would have as a resident of the town.
WHAT'S NEXT Masten and Embert said they plan to keep working on their goals in 2014. Masten said she still has 17 months to accomplish her goals and she's optimistic she'll achieve them because the town has a good council and good employees.
Embert said there will be some bumps in the road but he thinks the town is headed in the right direction.
"I just want to make Smyrna a great place to live and attract any and all businesses that we possibly can," Embert said. "Things are happening that will benefit the town down the road."