Smithfield Herald

Smithfield welcomes new mayor, councilmen

Judge Yates Dobson, left, administers the oath of office on Tuesday to newly elected Smithfield councilman Steve Rabil. With Rabil is his wife, Sheila.
Judge Yates Dobson, left, administers the oath of office on Tuesday to newly elected Smithfield councilman Steve Rabil. With Rabil is his wife, Sheila. tknopf@newsobserver.com

The Smithfield Town Council welcomed some new members and said goodbye to others on Tuesday.

Andy Moore, former mayor pro tem, took the oath of office as mayor with his family by his side.

Moore thanked outgoing mayor John Lampe for his straightforward mentorship.

“I’d rather someone tell me like it is than sugar-coat it,” he said. “The Town of Smithfield is better because of your leadership.”

Moore became emotional as he said how honored he felt to be mayor of a town that means so much to him.

“My promise to you is that I will govern diligently and do what I think is right for the Town of Smithfield,” he said.

Councilman Emery Ashley sought reelection this past November and won. The council unanimously voted for him to serve as mayor pro tem.

John Dunn and Steve Rabil, newly elected at-large councilmen, took their oaths and officially joined the council.

The town thanked the outgoing mayor for his four years of service with a framed proclamation. Lampe chose not to seek reelection.

“The Town of Smithfield is grateful for his creative leadership and concern for the public schools in Smithfield,” the proclamation read.

Lampe said he found local politics to be a lot of fun.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being mayor,” he said. “I know I cut up a little too much for people, but I think a light approach is better than taking it too seriously. It’s been a pleasure to serve, one of the best experiences of my life.”

Lampe presented humorous gifts to each council member, eliciting laughter from the crowded room. Lampe gave the new mayor a jar of soles just in case anyone accuses him of not having a soul. Ashley received a book titled “Architects of Ruin: How Big Government Liberals Wrecked the Global Economy – and How They Will Do It Again If No One Stops Them.”

The biggest crowd reaction came from Lampe’s gift to Councilman Perry Harris – a golden agitator from a washing machine. It was attached to a plaque with a proclamation signed by three mayors.

The proclamation said the golden agitator award honors “the member of the council known for rabble rousing, provocateur activism and most of all agitating everyone for his beliefs.”

The councilmen accepted their gifts in good humor too.

The town also thanked outgoing councilman Charles Williams with a proclamation, and Moore assured Williams that he would be calling on him for advice.

Williams said he was honored to serve the town the last four years. He said that while he regrets losing the election, he supports and congratulates the new members.

“I ask this town council that you leave the past in the past and continue to work together as a team for the positive benefit, image and prosperity of this town,” Williams said.

The council is less diverse now, as Williams was the only black member. African-Americans make up more than 27 percent of Smithfield’s population, according to the 2010 census.

The council will resume business at a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Knopf: 919-829-8955

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