BROWNSBURG — The first meeting of 2013 for the town council here resulted in an unusual election as Dwayne Sawyer was re-elected as president for the coming year.
Council members generally shift responsibilities from year to year. Over the past decade, Sawyer said he can only recall one instance where the incumbent stayed in the position.
He said he was flattered by the support he’s received from residents and his colleagues on the council.
“It’s a rare thing for the president of a town council to be elected back to back, especially in Brownsburg,” Sawyer said. “I’m happy for the opportunity and I’m happy that my colleagues believe I can do the job.”
Some of the achievements of Sawyer’s first year in leadership included lowering the town’s tax rate by more than 10 percent, completing the town’s comprehensive plan, and completing a sign and zoning ordinance.
“When I’ve gotten feedback from town staff and other elected officials, they’ve seen the growth and maturity over the year,” Sawyer said. “I may see it, I may believe it, but when others give it, it really solidifies that growth.”
Sawyer said the strides made in 2012 will lessen the challenges in 2013.
“I think (Brownsburg’s) in a better place,” he said. “We got a bunch of major milestones done last year. Now it really is executing those plans, the challenge of opportunity. How do we do a better job implementing and accounting for the plans in front of us?”
He said resident feedback is important to all of the council members and town officials.
“Just getting that ‘thank you,’ that e-mail, that phone call, that face to face hand shake, that ‘good job,’” he said. “I remember I was at a breakfast meeting one day doing town council business, somebody came up to me, recognized me from the paper, said I was doing a really good job and ‘keep it up,’ and I said ‘I truly appreciate it.’ This was out of the blue, unsolicited, no one I knew. There aren’t a lot of ‘thank yous’ or ‘congrats’ in politics, so when it does come, it means a lot.”
Sawyer acknowledges that he and the council cannot always please everyone.
“There is still a political aspect to the town council,” he said. “We have day-to-day operations run by a very qualified town manager in Grant Kleinhenz. And there are still politics — more so than people realize — and sitting in the president’s seat, it’s more magnified. We do work hard, all five of us. We all want what’s best for Brownsburg but we have different ways of getting there. For me, as president, I need to understand those different positions and thoughts.
“I said these words and it’s a mantra I live by in my political career — I am here to serve. It’s important to make sure that I can serve the people here well for the betterment of the town and that sometimes means waving the Brownsburg flag outside of Brownsburg. I am fortunate to serve in such a capacity.”
Sawyer won by a 3-2 vote with Rob Kendall and Don Spencer joining him and Gary Hood and Dave Richardson dissenting.
The town council’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 10.