EXETER — The newly elected Exeter Town Council was sworn into office on Monday night, via a virtual meeting.
Only two incumbents, Calvin A. Ellis and Daniel W. Patterson, successfully sought reelection this term. Although Councilmen Manuel Andrews, Francis P. DiGregorio and Robert M. Conn had all hoped to extend their time in public office, the three men finished in sixth, seventh and eighth place, respectively.
In their place, Michael A. Lefebvre, who finished on top of the polls with 1,892 votes, Olivia DeFrancesco, who finished exactly 200 votes behind him, and Francis T. Maher Jr., who finished in fifth place with 10.2 percent of the vote, will be representing the community of Exeter.
“The one thing I’d like to do is thank Manuel Andrews, Robert Conn and Francis Paul DiGregorio for their service on the council for the past two years,” Patterson said, moments after being elected town council president. “Even though we didn’t always agree, we were cordial.”
After two years of serving as the lone Republican on the council, the results of the latest election now place him in the majority. Fellow Republican Lefebvre will be serving as vice president of the council.
Former Council President Ellis and Councilwoman DeFrancesco will now serve as the council’s lone Democrats. And while Ellis will not be serving on the council in the same capacity, he continues to look forward to serving his fellow community members.
Before newly elected members of the council were sworn into office, Ellis took a few moments on Monday night to share words of thanks — first and foremost to community members who continue to place their trust and support in him.
“It has been my privilege to have presided during the past two years, and I thank my colleagues who are leaving the council for their support, and for their positive, significant contributions to Exeter’s governance,” Ellis said.
To the council members he’s yet to serve with, Ellis said he looks “ forward to working together to further the best interests of the entire Exeter community.”
“I also want to thank our department heads and staff, who continue to serve Exeter’s residents efficiently and effectively,” he added. “And I extend special thanks to our council clerk and town clerk, Lynn Hawkins, for all the ways she keeps all of us focused on the issues at hand.”
Ellis also extended words of kudos to the council’s assistant and legal staff, as well as the town’s emergency management agency director, Stefan Coutoulakis, for his continued leadership throughout the pandemic.
During his first address as town council president, Patterson took a few moments to share ways in which members of the community might be able to give back to those in need this holiday season.
The public library, in conjunction with the Glimmer of Hope Foundation, will be holding a toy drive between now and Dec. 19. Anyone who’s in the position to give this holiday season is encouraged to drop unwrapped gifts off at the library for children battling cancer.
The Exeter/West Greenwich Honors Society is also collecting gift cards, according to Patterson, to send to families with young children for Christmas presents. Those interested in making a donation should call the school ahead of time, before dropping anything off.
Patterson also made an announcement about the town’s annual Christmas Tree lighting — which will be happening virtually this year. The lighting will take place tonight (Dec. 3) at 6 p.m. For more details, please visit the town website.
*DeFrancesco could not be present on Monday evening, according to Hawkins, and was sworn into office the following morning.