Councilwoman Andrea Rodriguez was sworn in at the Smyrna Town Council organizational meeting on May 7.
Recently elected council member Tony DeFeo was also supposed to be sworn in but was out of town.
Rodriguez was sworn in by Delaware Superior Court Judge James Vaughn. This will be Rodriguez’s second term on council; she was serving a one-year term on council this past year to fill Mayor Joanne Masten’s at-large seat.
After the meeting, Rodriguez said she is ready to get to work after a year of learning the ropes.
“I actually feel now I can affect positive change,” she said. “I still feel I can make a difference.”
Rodriguez was unopposed for re-election. She feels a full three-year term will enable her to help move the town forward.
DeFeo will fill the District 2 seat left vacant by outgoing council member Jeff Flairty, who chose to not run for re-election after one term. DeFeo was previously on council in an at-large seat but decided to run for mayor in last year’s election; he lost to Mayor Masten.
DeFeo won the April 29 election with 76 votes to opponent Jim Schwartz’s 36 votes. DeFeo will be sworn in at the Special Council meeting on May 14.
Masten and council honored Flairty at the meeting for his time spent on council. Flairty will continue to be the chair for the town’s Economic Development and Utility committees.
“The best part of this job is meeting people I wouldn’t have normally met,” Flairty said. “I truly believe that this is a service and I’m glad to have provided it and I’m glad to move on and to do other things for the town. I’ll probably spend just as much time working for the town as I do now but in different roles.”
Meeting time changed
Council voted at the meeting to change the start time of the twice-a-month council meetings from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Meetings will continue to be the first and third Mondays of the month with the exception there is a holiday on a Monday there is a meeting. The change will start with the Monday, May 19 meeting.
Vice Mayor Regina Brown proposed the change at the meeting. Brown said she never thought about suggesting a time change until she noticed the public hearings on the agenda for the regular council meeting later in the evening.
Usually public hearings are held prior to the meeting; however the May 7 council meeting included the hearings within the meeting. Seeing this, Brown recommended council change the start time of meetings.
“We’re able to start business earlier and get people home to their families earlier,” Brown said after the meeting.
Council voted to remove six town committees from the town’s list of committees. The committees were disbanded because they don’t meet regularly; the committees can meet on an ad-hoc basis. The eliminated committees are Charter Review, Compensation, Contract Negotiations, Pension subcommittee, Personnel Policy Review subcommittee, and Police Building Committee.
There are openings on the Board of Adjustment, Library Advisory Board, and Planning & Zoning Commission. The Parks & Recreation Committee also needs a committee chair.