PENSACOLA, Florida (WALA) - A new era in Pensacola politics began Monday as the city's first mayor under the new city charter took the oath of office.
Ashton Hayward was sworn in before a packed house at city hall. The ceremony not only means a new face but a new way of doing business for the city.
It's a new day in Pensacola as a new so called "strong mayor" is sworn in under a new charter government approved by voters last fall.
The people wanted a mayor separate from the city council and that's what they got.
Ashton Hayward took the oath of office and is ready to get to work.
Joined by his wife and young son, Hayward raised his right hand and stepped into Pensacola history.
"I had a good transition time, and it is time to put Pensacola on the map statewide and nationally," said Hayward.
Hayward, a political newcomer beat out the incumbent Michael Wiggins by more than 800 votes. Wiggins had served the city of Pensacola since the 90's and as mayor for the last two years.
Wiggins pointed to his career highlights. Wiggins said Pensacola has become the best Airport between Jacksonville and New Orleans, greeted the King and Queen of Spain, and the reinescance of downtown businesses.
Wiggins also said there were bumps along the way.
"Hurricane Ivan devastated Pensacola," said Wiggins.
Wiggins thanked his family and friends for their support over the years.
And before a packed city council chamber with standing room only, Wiggins vowed to support Hayward.
Mayor Hayward's first order of business, looking at the city's budget.
"At a time right now need to look at savings and how we can run a more efficient government," said Mayor Hayward.
More specially looking for places to cut the fat.
The strong mayor position gives Mayor Hayward control over a two hundred million dollar budget, more than eight hundred city personnel and the ability to hire and fire.
"I'm sure cuts in certain places, not services because don't want to impact the people of Pensacola," said Hayward.
Mayor Hayward said the people of Pensacola want a more transparent government and he plans to deliver.
"Thank you for electing me," said Hayward. "I am encouraged that you share my belief that Pensacola can be vibrant prosperous city where everyone can be successful."
Hayward ran on a plan called "20 solutions for 2011."
Also at Monday's city council meeting, council members elected Maren DeWeese as its President and Dr. P.C. Wu as its Vice President.
For more information on Hayward plan, visit ashtonhayward.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/AH20Solutions2011.pdf
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