BY KRISSI HUMBARD — The city council meetings for Monday, May 15, were bittersweet. Two councilmembers sat for their final meeting before new and returning members of the council were sworn in.
Councilmembers Patrick Paschall and Ruth Ann Frazier ended their terms. Paschall served for four years; Frazier served for 18 years. Residents and colleagues thanked both for their service and dedication to the city and their constituents. It was clear from comments that despite not always agreeing, both councilmembers were valued for their time and efforts.
Paschall reflected on his four years during the meeting, talking about a number of things that were accomplished in his term: the sanctuary city legislation, voting reforms, human rights act, paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for city employees, filling key staff positions, infrastructure updates — “the list goes on.” Busy, but purposeful, just as Paschall said he intended.
“I think you, my colleagues, should be proud of the work we’ve done. I know I am,” Paschall said.
He encouraged council to continue on the path of progressiveness, inclusiveness and diversity. “I’m so proud of the work that we’ve done over the past four years and I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next,” Paschall said.
Each councilmember took time to thank their departing colleagues.
Councilmember Shani Warner (Ward 2) particularly praised Paschall for his leadership, vision, and for representing “the best of Hyattsville.” “It’s hard to ignore the lasting impact that his four years on the council will have on the community,” she said.
“If I had a fraction of Patrick’s passion and impact, and Ruth’s tenure and dedication, I’d be a much better person,” said Councilmember Thomas Wright (Ward 3).
Frazier, often quiet during council meetings, spoke about her 18 years. “In this time I’ve had some wonderful experiences and met some fantastic people.” She went on to offer some friendly advise: “Remember to always be polite. Regardless of how one feels on a particular issue or order of business, it is important to be polite and respectful. We all have a right to our opinions … we must all remember that we all serve on the council with a common goal of making Hyattsville a better place.”
The mayor presented both Paschall and Frazier with a plaque and a Hyattsville flag, while thanking them for their dedication.
New and returning councilmembers took the oath of office, which was administered by The Honorable Sydney J. Harrison, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Bart Lawrence (Ward 1), Robert Croslin (Ward 2), Carrianna Suiter (Ward 3), Edouard Haba (Ward 4), and Erica Spell (Ward 5) were sworn in as the 2017-2019 Hyattsville City Council.
Council also had to choose a new president and vice president at the meeting. After much discussion about the process and the candidates, Councilmember Haba was re-elected council president and Councilmember Wright was elected as vice president.