Jan. 9, 2019 — The first Florence City Council meeting of 2019 was held on Jan. 7 at the Florence Events Center and was actually two meetings.
Mayor Joe Henry began the night by welcoming members of the community, many of whom had gathered to greet the new city council, to the last meeting of the 2018 City Council.
The retiring council agenda was short and more of a formality, with the primary purpose to provide outgoing Councilor Susy Lacer the opportunity to share her thoughts on her tenure on the council with the crowd and to accept very positive comments from fellow board members. The board first approved minutes from the November and December City Council meetings before speaking of Lacer’s work.
Councilor Joshua Greene spoke of his appreciation for her work over the past four years and Councilor Ron Preisler, along with Henry, spoke of Lacer’s willingness to accept committee duties and her commitment to the community.
“I want to thank her for her years of dedicated service to our community and to the city council,” Henry said. “She has been instrumental in helping us to get through some interesting decisions along the way.”
Lacer made a point in her brief comments of mentioning the unexpected workload the council required and her remarks took on a more serious tone when discussing the responsibility she felt as a representative of the city.
“One of the reasons that it is so important to read all of these gigantic packets, to attend all of these meetings and to be informed is because the decisions these fine people make impacts the daily lives of 8,500 individuals,” Lacer said. “I probably didn’t understand that until I was up here making those decisions. I also want to encourage everyone here and everyone listening to get involved. This is your city. It’s not about us or them, and you can’t blame big government —our city is us, our friends and our neighbors, and if you want things to be better, get involved.”
The second meeting of the evening began with the administration of the oath of office to recently Henry, who was re-elected as mayor, Councilor Woody Woodbury, who was elected after he was appointed to the role in January 2018, and Councilor Geraldine Lucio, a first-time candidate.
Woodbury is recently retired and currently serves on the Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue Board of Directors and works with the Florence Urban Renewal District. Lucio is the owner of the Old Town Barbershop and a local entrepreneur.
Woodbury and Lucio won the open seats on the council in a race that had created a controversy among the electorate due to perceived partisan overtones.
The crowd at the swearing-in included supporters of the new council and family members, some that had flown in for the occasion — such as Lucio’s mother Virginia Lucio, grandmother Guadalupe Rodriguez and nephew J.J. Cervantes, who traveled from Texas to watch the ceremony.
Virginia was effusive in her support for her daughter and the friends she has made since moving here.
“We have had a great time visiting. My daughter has a lot of great ideas and the one thing I enjoyed most is that everyone we have run into has been so friendly and supportive of Geraldine,” she said.
The younger Lucio was equally enthusiastic after taking the oath, sharing a short time later her goals moving forward.
“It feels like such an honor to have the community vote me in. I’m looking forward to working with the city as a whole and hopefully we can make good decisions as a council,” she said.
The mayor welcomed both councilors warmly and the first work of the 2019 City Council began.
Lucio’s first action as councilor was to nominate Woodbury for the position of council president. The motion was seconded and later passed on a 3-2 vote, with Preisler unanimously elected Vice President.
The meeting was then adjourned with the next City Council meeting tentatively scheduled for Jan. 28, at the FEC.