Commissioners acknowledged the passion and dialogue brought forward by the election.
This recent election was a reminder of how much the community cares about Ormond Beach, said Mayor Bill Partington shortly after being sworn into office on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
After a passionate community dialogue on growth and development dominated campaigns, Ormond Beach voters chose to re-elect Partington and incumbents Dwight Selby for Zone 1, Troy Kent for Zone 2, and Rob Littleton for Zone 4 on Nov. 6, as well as elect Susan Persis to represent Zone 3. Each of them took their oath of office before Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Richard Orfinger during the meeting, officially marking the beginning of their two-year terms serving the city. Kent was also swore in as deputy mayor.
“Differences of opinion and healthy debate can divide us or they can make us stronger, and I believe we can achieve what’s best for our community by working constructively together," Partington said.
During his final remarks, Partington said he appreciated the importance of the issues raised, and that as the city continues toward economic recovery, those perspectives will continue to be a part of the conversation.
“While I think there is a divide and criticism of politics at the national level, I’m extremely proud that our Ormond Beach community came together to deal with the tough issues up front," Partington said.
Former Ormond Beach City Commissioner Rick Boehm was recognized for his service to the city once again. He said he feels like the city is in a better place now than when he first started serving, and that he is confident it will continue to improve with the new commission.
“It has been an extraordinary privilege to have served the city of Ormond Beach, and I use the word served correctly," Boehm said. "That’s what you do when you’re at the local level serving the local government. You’re there for the people — you’re there every day.”
Kent thanked the voters for re-electing him for an eight term. He also gave kudos to the other commissioners for not wavering on their beliefs during the campaign.
“You all had your own platforms and you stuck to it, and you were strong," Kent said. "And that’s what strong leaders do.”
Persis said she is honored and humbled to serve the community she has grown up in. She wants to work to
"build bridges" and make thoughtful decisions now that she has been elected. She also acknowledged Boehm and thanked him for his support.
“I know I have really big shoes to fill, but I’m going to work really hard just like you did, Rick," she said.
Littleton said he appreciated the citizens of Zone 4 for "putting their faith" in him again, as well as those that helped him on his campaign.
“We performed so well that we really knocked it out of the ballpark, and I was even surprised by it," Littleton said.
Selby said this was a hard-fought campaign, and that what he loves about Ormond Beach is that people love, care and are passionate about their community. He said that passion came out in this election. Selby added that while the voters communicated that the city is headed in the right direction, that doesn't mean that they can ignore the opposing views as a commission.
He encouraged the continuation of open communication.
“You can’t have community if you don’t have conversation," Selby said. "It really takes talking and listening.”
Updated at 9:26 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, to correct the judge's name. A previous version of this story mistakenly said it was Circuit Judge Michael Orfinger. The correct judge pictured is Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Richard Orfinger.