Vance Phillips is selected county council president

The New Year means new faces and new leadership for the Sussex County Council. County Council, at its Tuesday, Jan. 6, meeting, elected its officers for 2009, selecting as president Councilman Vance C. Phillips of Laurel, and as vice president Councilman George B. Cole of Ocean View. Prior to their selection as officers, new Council members Joan R. Deaver, Michael H. Vincent and Samuel R. Wilson Jr. took their oaths of office in front of a chamber full of family and friends. With the retirement of three councilmen in 2008, and the election of new members this past November, control of the council switched from Democratic to Republican for the first time in nearly 20 years. With that change, the appointments Tuesday represent the first leadership post on County Council for Phillips, and only the second for Cole.

As council president, Phillips will preside over all council meetings in 2009, with Cole substituting as the presiding officer anytime Phillips is unable to attend. "I really appreciate this honor, and I want you all to know that I respect everyone here and will respect everyone's opinion," Phillips said upon taking the gavel. It is customary for the council, at the first meeting of each new year, to elect its officers and appoint legal staff. The five-member council unanimously approved both Phillips and Cole for their leadership posts. Council also unanimously approved James D. Griffin to re-appointment as County Attorney. Griffin will serve at the pleasure of the County Council as the elected body's chief counsel. Vincent G. Robertson and Richard E. Berl Jr. also were re-appointed as assistant county attorneys, with Robertson to serve the Planning & Zoning Commission and Berl to serve the Board of Adjustment.

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