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Sherman Saunders bid farewell as mayor on Friday, saying, “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 all.”
Saunders had served as mayor since Jan. 1, 2008. In May, he won re-election to another four-year term on City Council, but he chose not to seek another two-year term as mayor. The positions of mayor and vice mayor are selected from the sitting City Council members. On Friday, City Council elected Councilman John Gilstrap as mayor and Councilman Alonzo Jones as vice mayor.
Here is the full statement on Friday from Saunders:
"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, Virginia. 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 all! I am grateful for this opportunity.
Special thanks to our public safety workers – police, fire, volunteer rescue workers and others. Your service is valued, perhaps more than you may realize. In addition to saving lives and protecting our community, you make our city – proud. You have families too, and we are grateful for their support of your service.
A huge thank you to our regional partners – Danville Community College, Averett University, American National University, Danville Regional Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, Future of the Piedmont, and so many others. Thank you for sharing the vision of what our city and region is becoming, and for providing resources to make that vision a reality.
To Mayor Gilstrap, Vice Mayor Jones, Council members, City Manager Ken Larking, Deputy City Manager Earl Reynolds, city employees, and citizens, I look forward to serving with you, and pledge my continuous support in helping to make Danville and our region become the model for the commonwealth of Virginia and others to emulate.
I ask that we remain “focused” and “positive” as we journey to “better days ahead!”