The Pembroke City Council welcomed back Judy Cook as mayor and said hello to newcomer Karen Lynn during its meeting Monday at City Hall.
Cook and Lynn, who won their elections in November as challengers, were sworn in at the beginning of meeting in front of a full house in the council chambers.
Cook was previously Pembroke mayor for 12 years before declining to run for a fourth term in 2011.
“Some of the rules have changed, like committee meetings, and I’m going to have to get familiar with some of those. But I’ve worked with this council before — Karen is the only new one on there — and I think everyone pretty well knows what our responsibilities are,” Cook said after the meeting.
Outgoing Mayor Mary Warnell — who won election to the office in 2011, replacing Cook — opened her final meeting by pointing out the highlights for the city during the past four years. Among the moments mentioned were: Pembroke being one of five Georgia cities selected for the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing program in order to improve housing options “across all socioeconomic levels”; the addition of new businesses CZM and Savannah Global Solutions, which employ 60 people in Pembroke; increases in personnel for the volunteer fire department and in equipment for the Police Department; and the purchase of property for the public-safety complex.
“I leave you tonight knowing we have indeed made the best better and challenge you to keep focused on what’s best for our city and for her citizens,” said Warnell, who closed by saying it was “an honor and a privilege to serve as your mayor.”
Mayor Pro Tem Johnnie Miller, who addressed the audience after Warnell’s comments, praised both the incoming and outgoing mayors.
“Both of these women, they love the city. That’s what’s so good about it,” he said.
Warnell then received gifts from Miller on behalf of the council.
Cook said that completion of the public-safety complex is a big issue going forward for the city. That project began with preliminary plans five years ago, she said.
“Since that time, the project has expanded; the cost, of course, has expanded,” Cook said.
The mayor added that street repairs need to be addressed and that she would like to bring back the junior-police program as well as do a junior-firefighters program and citizens’ police academy.
Lynn took her seat as the new District 2 councilwoman. She is in her first elected office and replaces Kimberly McGhee, whom she defeated in November’s election.
In other action Monday:
• Miller was re-elected as mayor pro tem.
• Council approved a conditional-use permit for Rachel Kendrick to run an online women’s accessory boutique from her home.