Leesburg has a new mayor who is no stranger to the job of leading the city and two new commissioners.
Commissioner John Christian was elected mayor by the City Commission during Monday night’s organizational meeting. He succeeded Mayor Elise Dennison, who didn’t run for re-election because of term limits that were approved by Leesburg voters in 2012.
Christian, who was first elected to the commission in 2004, is now serving his fifth term as the city’s mayor. He also held the top job in 2005, 2008, 2014 and 2019. Christian’s term as a commissioner ends in November 2022 and he won’t be eligible to run for re-election cause of term limits.
Christian thanked the members of the commission for appointing him as mayor and said he’s looking forward to a great year ahead following the difficult year the city has faced because of COVID-19, which included the cancellation of the highly popular and quite lucrative Leesburg Bikefest event.
Commercial real estate agent Mike Pederson was appointed as the city’s mayor pro-tem. He took office in January 2019 after running unopposed to replace attorney Bob Bone.
Two new commissioners also were sworn in during Monday night’s meeting. Jimmy Burry replaced Jay Howell in District 1. Howell also couldn’t run again because of term limits. And Jay Connell replaced Dennison in District 3.
Burry, who owns Burry’s Pharmacy, said he appreciates the opportunity to serve on the City Commission.
“I look forward to the next four years,” he said.
Connell, who has 30 years of experience in law enforcement and as a building and fire inspector, agreed.
“I’ve worked with you guys for a lot of years on the other side of the table, so it’s going to be a little different for me,” he said. “But I’m looking forward to it.”
Commissioners also paid tribute to Dennison and Howell and thanked them for their many years on the Commission. Each received a plaque paying tribute to their many years of service.