FENWICK ISLAND – Tears were shed at the Fenwick Island Town Council meeting Friday as colleagues and staff said their goodbyes to Mayor Audrey Serio after serving the town for the last nine years as mayor.
Serio participated in her last town council meeting as the elections approach on Saturday, Aug. 1, and she is not running for re-election.
“Today is Audrey’s last council meeting as mayor and we would like to recognize her. She has been a council member for 12 years, and mayor for nine of those years, and she has done an outstanding job,” Vice Mayor Gene Langan said.
Town Manager Merritt Burke presented Serio with a proclamation stating, “Audrey Serio has served the Town of Fenwick Island with distinguished and outstanding service from August 12, 2003 through July 31, 2015. Her length of service to the Town of Fenwick Island includes many worthwhile and lasting accomplishments. Her outstanding service to the Town of Fenwick Island reflects well upon herself and the Town she has led for so many years.”
Burke went on to list many of the accomplishments Serio played a role in from finishing Cannon Street Park with an ADA kayak launch, the basketball courts and rain gardens.
“When I was hired, the mayor with her green thumb and I talked about greening up town hall,” Burke said.
He furthered with other examples, such as the sidewalks installed in front of Town Hall and Cannon Street Park, the renovation of Fenwick Island Community Park, the purchase of Mobi-mats placed at every street end entrance to the beach, and technology improvements to increase transparency.
“I feel like I could go on, and on with a list of accomplishments that the mayor and this council have achieved
Mayor, thank you for your leadership. It has been a blast working with you and this council. We have achieved a great deal, and I wish you the best,” Burke said.
Langan also presented Serio with a plaque in appreciation of her devotion, dedication and hard work to the Town of Fenwick Island from 2003-2015.
“There is no end to the amount of projects we have been involved in, and they all have turned out pretty well I think,” Council Secretary Gardner Bunting said.
Later in the meeting the department heads also took the opportunity to say their farewells.
“I would like to wish Mayor Serio a farewell. For many years, I have had the greatest admiration for you. I wish you the best,” Building Official Patricia Schuchman said.
Public Works Supervisor Bryan Reed recalled many fond memories in working with Serio.
“The Public Works Department wishes you a fond farewell,” he said. “You came on as a Public Works Commissioner in 2003 and we all wondered how we would get along with you but it has been nothing but great things.”
Police Chief William Boyden also recalled when Mayor Serio swore him in as police chief.
“You have been the most supportive of my office, and when I retire … and if they mark me as a successful chief I would say it is because I had great leadership from a mayor. I will miss
Serio decided to run for Town Council when her family built a new home in Fenwick Island making the decision she would follow in father’s footsteps, who served on the first Town Council.
“I said to my husband that I was going to run and serve for one term, and here I still am,” she said.
Last month when it was announced Serio was not running for re-election, she said it is simply time to retire.
“I have grandkids living in different areas, and it is just time to retire and enjoy,” Serio said at that time.
There are four council seats up for election this year —Serio, Langan, Councilman Roy Williams and interim Councilman Richard Mais, who is serving out the remainder of former Councilman Todd Smallwood’s term as he resigned in May.
The 2015 Municipal Election will take place Aug. 1 at Town Hall from 1-5 p.m. Candidates had until June 17 at 4:30 p.m. to file for election that was followed by a special council meeting at Town Hall to accept the nominees.
Six candidates running in this year’s election to fill the four vacancies are Lisa Marie Benn, Anne Louise Christ, Julie Lee and incumbents Langan, Williams and Mais.
A municipal election is held each year as the seven-member council serves a term of two years. The 2013 Municipal Election had five candidates filing — Vicki Carmean, Langan, Serio, Smallwood and Williams. However, Carmean withdrew her application leaving the four candidates to automatically fill the positions.
Next year the seats held by Bunting, Councilman Bill Weistling and Councilwoman Diane Tingle will be up for election.