South Bethany elects two new council members

South Bethany voters have elected two new town council members, as well as re-electing two incumbents, in the Town’s May 25 election.

Carol Stevenson (447 votes), Frank Weisgerber (also 447) and Richard “Dick” Oliver (436) won the seats with two-year terms, over Jane Bonbright (417), Laurence “Larry” Budd (401) and Darren Donohue (379).

Derek Abbott (437) defeated Gerald “Jerry” Masiello (417) for a seat with a one-year term.

Incumbents Stevenson and Weisgerber were first elected to council in 2015. She chairs the Communications & Public Relations Committee, and he chairs the Water Quality Committee.

Oliver is currently the Planning Commission chairperson. He will essentially take the seat of his son, Jimmy Oliver, who was appointed to fill the remainder of Tim Saxton’s term when Saxton was elected mayor in 2018.

The younger Oliver said a busy schedule has prevented him from serving again. He said he doesn’t work but still does a lot of activities back in the Washington, D.C., area, including training to become a Master Gardener through Virginia Tech.

“It was a pleasure working with all of you guys,” Jimmy Oliver said during his final council workshop on May 23. “I may be back later. I really enjoyed it, and it’s been wonderful what you’ve done with this town.”

Abbott was the only “New Voices” candidate to win a council seat. All eight candidates had discussed the ongoing importance of a healthy budget and infrastructure, especially canal water quality. But the New Voices candidates had emphasized the need for town council transparency, and have questioned and criticized the administration’s intent for the police department, which is starting to be rebuilt.

The town council’s annual re-organizational meeting will be Saturday, June 1, at 10 a.m. The meeting’s agenda includes swearing in new council members; appointment of and vote for mayor pro-tem, secretary and treasurer; committee assignments — appointment and possible vote on chairpersons and members; a possible vote to appoint a town council liaison for the planning commission; and review of the council’s 2019-2020 meeting schedule.


By Laura Walter

Staff Reporter