Council members seated

Published 10:34 pm Monday, January 3, 2011

Councilman Mike Duman takes the oath of office Monday from Clerk of Circuit Court Randy Carter with his wife, Fran Duman, holding the Bible.

Suffolk’s newest City Council member and several returning members officially took their seats at an investiture ceremony and reorganization meeting on Monday.

Mike Duman became the city’s newest council member, representing the Chuckatuck borough. Others who took their oaths of office before a packed City Council chambers were Charles Brown of the Cypress borough, Jeffrey Gardy of the Holy Neck borough and Charles Parr of the Suffolk borough.

The city also got a new vice mayor at the event. During the reorganization meeting, longtime Whaleyville borough representative Curtis Milteer, the vice mayor, nominated Brown to become the new vice mayor. The motion passed unanimously.

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Brown noted afterward he was surprised by the recognition. He also served as vice mayor for four years beginning in 1996, when Milteer relinquished the post that time, as well.

Every speaker at the event, including keynote speaker Congressman J. Randy Forbes, praised the service of Joe Barlow, who chose not to seek reelection in the Chuckatuck borough in order to retire. He served many years on the School Board and City Council.

After honoring Barlow, Forbes spoke of each of the new and returning council members individually, noting their public service and, in two cases, joking with them about school rivalries.

“Mike [Duman] graduated from Churchland,” Forbes said. “I graduated from Great Bridge. Jeff [Gardy] scares me to death because he went to Hampden-Sydney College and I went to Randolph Macon.”

Of Charles Brown and Charles Parr, Forbes praised their dedication to the job.

“Charles [Brown] has always been there through the years,” Forbes said. “Charles [Parr], you’ve got to be proud of the great job you’ve done” as the council liaison to the Economic Development Authority.

Forbes encouraged city leaders to continue fighting alongside him against the proposed closure of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, which includes a large facility in Suffolk.

“We need every technological advantage we can to remain on the edge,” he said. “That is cradled here in Suffolk. If you don’t give up the fight, we won’t give up the fight.”

Each of the new and returning members also spoke briefly, mostly thanking family members, colleagues and those who supported them during the election.

“It is a trust I do not and will not take lightly,” Duman said of his first-ever elected office. “I pray I will be worthy of [the voters’] trust and confidence.”

The newly reorganized City Council will hold its first meeting Jan. 19. The regular meeting that would have been held Wednesday was canceled in favor of Monday’s events.