It was standing room only at Town Hall on Tuesday night as friends, family and supporters came out to support Tiverton's newly elected leadership in its first meeting since the election.
In its first order of business, mediated by Town Clerk Nancy Mello, the council elected Edward A. Roderick as council president in a 6-0 vote where former President Jay J. Lambert abstained.
"I am simply going to abstain from voting because I wish [Mr. Roderick] the best of luck," said Lambert. "I am not planning to run again after this election so I might move at some point for a charter change because it is my belief that it should be left to the electorate and [council presidency] should go to the candidate who receives the most votes."
Lambert was the highest vote-getter in the Nov. 5 election, with 3,117 votes. Denise DeMedeiros came in second with a total 3,072 votes, followed by Roderick with 3,027.
Roderick received the sole nomination for council presidency from DeMedeiros.
DeMedeiros was elected vice president, also the sole nominee. This is DeMedeiros' first term on the Town Council, but she previously served on the School Committee. The new council leaders will be joined at the table by Lambert, re-elected members Joan Chabot and Brett N. Pelletier and rookie councilors James J. Arruda and William P. Gerlach.
"I would like to say that I am very excited to have all you who were elected up here with me," said DeMedeiros. "I think this is going to be a very productive, great committee and I would also like to thank all of you who suppored us. This was my fifth election season and fifth campaign and I have never felt as much support as I did this time."
Members past were recognized by the local leadership in the General Assembly for their accomplishments and the council-elect was sworn into its two-year term alongside the town Budget Committee and School Committee members.
"When you walk around, you get a sense of this town and whether people agree with you or not, everyone cares about this town and that's why we are all here and whether we politically always agree or not, everyone want to see this town get better," said Roderick. He thanked former councilors Robert Coulter and David Nelson for their service to the town over the past two year, offering an anecdote about Coulter's use of rhetoric and apprciation of each candidates determination and hard work.
"I hope you both stay involved in the town, we are not enemies, we are all Tivertonians and we are here to work together," added Roderick.
Nelson, a vocal leader of the Tiverton Citizens for Change political group who was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election was not present at Tuesday's meeting. Accoring to former Councilor Robert Coulter, he was traveling in Mexico on business.
Coulter, also unsuccessful in his race for re-election, congratulated candidates and thanked voters for his two years in office, pledging continued involvement in town politics.
"This really was a productive council and I'm proud to have been a part of that," said Coulter. "Particularly so when it involved work across the aisles so I just want to say thank you to all of you for that."
Chief Judge Jeanne E. Lafazia conducted the swearing in of town officers.
"What you do and how you do it will define the very nature and character of this great town of Tiverton, Rhode Island," she said. "Be proud of your community and also be proud of your service to its people."