Bill Bencini sworn in as new mayor of High Point

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Bill Bencini

Bencini took the oath of office on Monday night to become the new mayor of High Point.

Bencini thanked his fellow council members after gaveling the meeting to order.

“I’m convinced of your understanding that the accomplishments of the individual members will be measured by our ability to work together,” he said.

The new council voted unanimously to elect Jim Davis, who recently served as mayor following the resignation of Bernita Sims, as mayor pro tem. The new mayor seated political allies Alyce Hill and Jay Wagner, who respectively represent wards 3 and 4, on either side of him. The three most conservative members — Ward 5 representative Jim Davis, Ward 6 representative Jason Ewing and at-large representative Cynthia Davis — were seated to the mayor’s right, while the two African-American members — Ward 1 representative Jeff Golden and Ward 2 representative Chris Williams — were seated on his left, along with at-large representative Latimer Alexander.

The council approved new committee appointments by the mayor, including Jim Davis as chair of finance, Golden as chair of community development, Wagner as chair of planning and development, and Ewing as chair of prosperity and livability.

Before Bencini and the new city council were seated, the old council wrapped up its business. It was the last meeting for council members Becky Smothers and Judy Mendenhall, who were each first elected to council in 1977 and each served as mayor at various points over the past three decades. Smothers chose to retire, and Mendenhall was defeated in the recent election.

Council members Britt Moore, who was defeated in the at-large race, and Foster Douglass, who retired as representative of Ward 2, also said their goodbyes. One person who was not present to be recognized was Sims, who resigned earlier this year before pleading guilty to felony fraud against a a family member.

  • Observer

    One of the very last votes made was to permanently seal the records of multiple closed sessions from public view: the new regime promises more of the same “openness” that we have become so used to around here.