Create a Website Account - Manage notification subscriptions, save form progress and more.
City Council on Friday elected Councilman John Gilstrap to serve as mayor and Councilman Alonzo Jones as vice mayor. They will serve as mayor and vice mayor for the next two years.
Gilstrap takes over for Councilman Sherman Saunders, who had served as mayor since Jan. 1, 2008. Gilstrap has been on Council for six years and this will be his first term as mayor.
“This is a tremendous honor,” Gilstrap said following his selection. “I will do my best to see progress in this city. We will work as a team as we have since I have been on Council.”
Jones takes over for Councilman Gary Miller, who has served as vice mayor for the past four years. Jones has been on Council for six years and this will be his first term as vice mayor.
Their selection as mayor and vice mayor took place during an organizational meeting. The meeting is held every two years for the public swearing-in of winners of the City Council election held in May, selection of a mayor and vice mayor and issuance of seat assignments for each Council meeting.
The mayor and vice mayor positions are selected from the sitting City Council members to serve two-year terms. Councilman Fred Shanks nominated Gilstrap as mayor.
A contest was created when Councilman L. G. “Larry” Campbell Jr. nominated Miller for mayor. Gilstrap won in a 6-3 vote, with Gilstrap voting for himself and receiving the support of Jones, Shanks, James Buckner, Lee Vogler and Madison Whittle. Miller voted for himself and received the support of Campbell and Saunders.
For vice mayor, Vogler nominated Jones. He was unopposed.
Saunders and Miller remain on Council, which is the governing body of the City of Danville. It is composed of nine people, elected at large for four-year staggered terms.
In May, Campbell, Saunders, Shanks and Vogler won re-election. Whittle, who won election in May for his first term on Council, joined them on Friday in taking the oath of office. They will serve to June 30, 2020.
Gilstrap, Jones and Miller won re-election in May 2014. Buckner joined them that year after winning election to his first term. They will serve to June 30, 2018.
Gilstrap was first elected to Council in 2010. He served as the City’s director of Parks and Recreation for 30 years before retiring. He then served as executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Jones also was first elected to Council in 2010. He is employed by Averett University as director of facilities.
Saunders bid farewell as mayor, saying, “Special thanks to God, my wife San, family, friends, citizens and City Council for eight and one-half years of serving as mayor of our great city – Danville, Va. During that time, our city saw much, and endured very tough times. We did not waver, stayed focused and chartered a course that we know will yield more growth, jobs and success for our citizens and this region.
“The city remains fiscally sound (the lifeblood of any government), and the city’s workforce (our 1,100 employees) remain the best you will find, anywhere in the world! They take pride in serving our residents, and all who visit our great city. The regional partnership with Pittsylvania County remains strong, and more evidence of this union will be seen – soon; and even more success will continue to be realized.
“All of my life, I have simply wanted to be a part of helping to bring people together, building a stronger community for the good of al! I am grateful for this opportunity.”