A Lansing City councilman was officially sworn in Thursday as mayor, the first time since 1993 the position has changed hands.
Billy Blackwell took the oath of office and presided over a brief meeting before a council chambers full of city staff, friends and family went downstairs for a ceremony and reception in honor of outgoing mayor Ken Bernard.
Blackwell served on the council from 2003 until 2009, when he lost a re-election bid. But he ran and regained a seat in 2011. In January 2012, he was the first to file for mayor, a race he won in November against two of his fellow council members, Andi Pawlowski and Don Studnicka.
Speaking to a crowd that included his brother who had flown in from North Carolina as a surprise, Blackwell said he realized the shoes he had to fill, but he thanked the voters in the city for their support.
“The trust and confidence you have placed in me means a great deal to me,” he said.
Blackwell said he has no intention of overhauling the way the city does business, though he said he will possibly change a few things.
“I’ll do the good commander thing I did when I was in the Army and that’s to go in and do an assessment period, and once you do the assessment period, if something needs to be changed, I will talk to the city administrator and we’ll move forward from there,” he said.
With his work at home now, he said he will be available on an as-needed basis. But in an address following his swearing in, Blackwell said he will also need the help of city staff, council members and the people of Lansing.
“Working together, I think we can meet the challenges ahead of us and keep Lansing a great place to live, work and raise our families,” he said.