Lieutenant governor swears in Groton City mayor, councilors

Groton — Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz remarked Monday evening, during a swearing-in ceremony for City of Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick and the City Council, that Groton’s diversity is a model for the state.

Hedrick was sworn into his second term as mayor, while City Council incumbents Jamal Beckford, Rashaad Carter, Gweneviere Depot and Jill Rusk, as well as new members Lisa McCabe and Minerva Ortiz, were sworn in.

Bysiewicz lauded the diversity of the community and the council, with its representation of women, people of color and diverse career experiences.

“You have an amazing mix of talent, and it’s going to serve not just the City of Groton, but your whole state, as well,” she said. “You are a model of great government.”

During the ceremony in the Municipal Building auditorium, Bysiewicz administered the oath of office to Hedrick, joined on stage by family members, some of them from as far away as North Carolina, and to the councilors, whose families also stood on stage with them. Local officials, community members and friends looked on from the audience and applauded.

Hedrick presented plaques to Deputy Mayor Lawrence Gerrish and City Councilor Stephen Sheffield, who respectively served on the council for eight years and six years and did not run for re-election, in appreciation for their service and leadership to the city.

Gerrish said it was a pleasure to serve with Hedrick. Gerrish called it "bittersweet" to not be on the stage being sworn in on Monday evening and he reflected on all the people he met over his eight years in office, including the department heads and those working behind the scenes to run the city.

"It was an honor," Gerrish said.

Sheffield said he couldn't be more proud of what they accomplished and knows the City Council will continue to move forward over the next term.

The City Council unanimously selected Beckford, an Electric Boat engineer and lifelong Groton resident who has served as City Councilor since 2017, to serve as deputy mayor.

During the ceremony, the West Side Middle School Chorus sang the national anthem and "True Colors," and St. John's Christian Church Pastor Joseph L. Coleman, also chaplain for the City of Groton Police Department, delivered the invocation.

Hedrick's grandson presented flowers to City Clerk Deb Patrick and Hedrick's wife, Joyce. Hedrick said Patrick is looking to retire at the end of her term and he thanked her for everything she has done for the council and for him. Hedrick thanked his wife for her support and said he couldn't do the job without it.

In his remarks, Hedrick noted projects over the past term, from work toward the water treatment plant to a tax increment financing policy. Over the next term, he said, the council will continue with economic development on Thames Street and the Five Corners area, help improve infrastructure, address space issues within the municipal building, develop strategies for future traffic and parking issues associated with the continued expansion of businesses, evaluate the impacts of new legislation and implement policies as required, manage the transition of the Mother Bailey House, and continue to work on stormwater regulations.

"All in all, it will be a busy two years for you, but I know you are up to the challenge," Hedrick told the council.

k.drelich@theday.com

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