The city of Powell is now under the leadership of a new mayor.
After serving on Powell City Council for the past six years, Frank Bertone was elected by his fellow council members as Powell’s next mayor during council’s first meeting of 2020 Tuesday. He was sworn in by Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Judge David Gormley.
Bertone replaces Jon Bennehoof, who served as the city’s mayor over the past two years. Bennehoof will continue to serve on council as he was re-elected by the community in the November election.
A Powell resident since 2003, Bertone has chaired council’s Operations and Development committees, and he currently serves as a member of the Finance Committee.
“It is an honor to serve as mayor of the Powell community,” said Bertone in a release. “I look forward to working with my peers on city council, staff, as well as the members of the community to set forth goals and priorities for the next two years.”
Outside of serving on Powell City Council, Bertone works as a trust officer and product consultant with Nationwide Trust Company.
In addition to Bertone being sworn in as mayor, Daniel Swartwout was also sworn as Powell’s new vice mayor. Swartwout, who has been a Powell resident since 2004, began serving on council in 2016 and was re-elected to another term in November. He will also serve as the chairman of the city’s Operations Committee.
Terms for the new mayor and vice mayor are for two years and will run through Dec. 31, 2021.
While Bertone and Swartwout are familiar faces in council, one newcomer was also sworn in. Heather Karr was elected in November, along with Bennehoof and Swartwout as incumbents, to fill the seat vacated by the departure of Brendan Newcomb. She was the top vote-getter in the election and took her oath of office Tuesday before participating in her first meeting.
Both the nominations of Bertone as mayor and Swartwout as vice mayor were approved by all council members except outgoing Vice Mayor Tom Counts. Asked why he voted against both nominations, Counts told The Gazette, “I’ve been concerned about the issues within council for about the last two or three years. There’s been a lot of discord that has gone on. Two years ago, when we elected the mayor, there were three (council) members who later regretted that decision.”
Counts claimed there has been “a lack of respect between the boundaries of the division of charter duties between council and the city manager in that council members have overstepped the bounds into the executive authority of the city manager,” and he said what he was seeing with the elections was that nothing was going to change in that regard.
Counts went on to say his votes against the new appointments had nothing to do with himself not receiving a nomination. Rather, he said he “wanted to be on the record” with his concerns “because this is a significant issue facing the council and I think it impedes the ability of the council to do what the residents elected them to do.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.