New Bern gets new mayor; aldermen sworn in

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 5:39 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:57 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - The City of New Bern swore in its new mayor and aldermen Monday evening.

Mayor Jeffrey Odham was inaugurated along with Ward One Alderman Rick Prill and Ward Two Alderman Hazel Royal.

The newly-appointed mayor and New Bern native spoke about the significance of leading a city he’s grown to love.

“Being able to represent my hometown just means so much to me,” Odham said. “It was never a lifelong dream of me to become mayor, but it’s funny how life takes you in different directions and I’m just so proud to be here and honored.”

Odham called for a runoff back in May after losing to former New Bern’s former chief Toussaint Summers by only four votes.

Former mayor Dana Outlaw was emotional as he passed over the seat and Odham credits all of his success to his predecessor.

“I can’t begin to thank mayor outlaw enough because he was a mentor of mine and I would not be here today without him,” Odham said. “Appreciate the support he’s given me and the things that he’s taught me. We’re going to continue to build on those things in the upcoming years and we’re going to continue to move our city forward.”

Alderman Johnnie Ray Kinsey says the new group will have to be on the same page so the city continues to process.

“It’s a new start, we’re looking to move forward, working together, and sharing ideas to grow the city of New Bern as one,” Kinsey said. “It takes a village to grow and we have the new village.”

Although things are still fresh, Odham believes the city will see huge improvement.

“We’re going to see some great things and some good progress,” Odham said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

After Odham, Prill, and Royal were sworn in, the mayor will lead a prayer and then there will be a pledge of allegiance. The Board of Aldermen will shortly after appoint a mayor pro team to perform mayoral duties in the absence of the mayor.

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