GREENFIELD — Republican Chuck Fewell was selected mayor of Greenfield by a clear majority Monday, and party faithfuls vowed to stand united behind the new leader in a city still healing from the loss of Mayor Dick Pasco.
Fewell, 70, received nine of the 12 votes by GOP precinct committeemen in a caucus Monday evening at the Hancock County Courthouse Annex. He will complete Pasco’s term as mayor for the next two years and will be eligible to run for election again in 2015 for a new four-year term.
As a standing room-only crowd of more than 100 GOP members, city employees and elected officials applauded Fewell, the first-time elected official said he was grateful for the support.
“It’s kind of still spinning,” he said. “My feet will hit the ground here in a little bit.”
While all six mayoral hopefuls were given an opportunity to address the crowd, only two others – John Patton and Mitch Pendlum – received votes.
Patton received two, while Pendlum received one; both of them are also precinct committee members, so they were allowed to vote for themselves.
Patton, president of the city council who had been acting mayor since Pasco’s Dec. 10 death from liver cancer, said afterward that he’s disappointed but will be supportive of the new mayor. The GOP precinct committeemen unanimously agreed to a resolution at the conclusion of the caucus to stand united behind Fewell.
For Fewell, that resolution of unity was about as vital as the win.
“That’s going to make us bigger, better, stronger,” Fewell said.
Patton, Pendlum and mayoral candidate Judy Swift are all on the city council, and Patton said the council will move forward and support Fewell. Also running in Monday’s caucus were Phil Miller and John Miller.
Fewell, a governmental affairs and business development representative for Milestone Contractors, has said that he is set to retire from his job. Shortly after he was sworn in Monday evening, Clerk-Treasurer Larry Breese reminded him he had a Board of Works meeting at 10 a.m. today, and Fewell promised to be there.
While this is Fewell’s first role as an elected official, he has been involved in GOP politics for about five years as a vice precinct committeeman. Professionally, he served as a lobbyist at the Indiana Statehouse for more than two decades; prior to his work for Milestone Contractors, Fewell worked for the Indiana State Police and Shelbyville Police Department.
It’s his experience in public safety, infrastructure and legislative affairs that Fewell said made him a strong candidate for the job.
“I have no intention of undoing the positive things Mayor Dick Pasco was elected to do,” he said.
Pasco’s family was at the event, and the group held a moment of silence and a prayer for them.
Counting the ballots were Breese and Hancock County Clerk Marcia Moore. Janice Silvey, chairwoman of the GOP, said she was pleased so many people showed up, interested in the election process.
Fewell said he was ready to start work today and told the crowd he hoped his experience would prove beneficial to the community.
“I will be a mayor who will be known for what I did and not what I said I will do.”