Whitaker, Eley, Norris take oath of office


By Ryan Berry


GREENVILLE — The City of Greenville is one step closer to seating its new mayor after Jeff Whitaker was sworn in on Monday during a ceremony in Council Chambers at the Municipal Building.

The chamber was packed with supporters for Whitaker, as well as family and friends of council members Delores Eley and Chris Norris, who were also sworn in. Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy travelled from Columbus to administer the oath of office to the trio.

Pastor Alex Murphy, Community of Faith Church, Greenville, offered a prayer over the swearing-in ceremony and encouraged those in the audience and in the city to continually pray for Whitaker. “The Bible is really clear; those that are in position of authority, government or leadership, they are there because God has placed them there. So, I knew Jeff, walking into this position as mayor was no accident, it was the hand of God over his life,” said Pastor Murphy. He also said, “It’s also clear that the first thing we are called to do is to pray for that authority, to pray for our leadership, to pray for the people in our government.”

Whitaker was joined by his wife, Robin, daughter Riley and granddaughter Miranda for the oath of office. Under Chief Justice Kennedy’s leadership, Whitaker said, “I Jeffrey D. Whitaker, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States of America, the Constitution of the State of Ohio and the codified ordinances of the City of Greenville and that I will faithfully, honestly and impartially, discharge the duties of Mayor of the City of Greenville, Darke County, Ohio during my continuance in said office. This I shall I do as shall answer unto God.”

Whitaker said, “I want to thank Chief Justice Kennedy for joining us here today as well as everyone here.” He continued, “I’ve been elected to serve six years on Greenville City Council and now as mayor, it is a tremendous privilege and I express my sincere thanks and deep gratitude for the trust placed in me.”

Whitaker turned his attention to what he expects from his office over the next four years, “We will continue to provide for an open and honest government. We’ll be giving our best efforts to the citizens of Greenville. I will be seeking the wisdom of our Lord God and doing His will in serving to the best of my ability.” He then sent a message to the residents of the city, “I encourage every individual citizen to realize the importance of citizen participation. That is being involved and engaging in our community. We shall always remain vigilant as to what is happening around us and being good neighbors to one another and keep our city clean and safe. We owe it all to one another, to treat each other equally and fairly and in doing so Greenville remains a better and stronger community.”

Although Eley and Norris have served on the city council for several years, this was the first time they were elected to their positions. Eley was appointed after the passing of Dori Houdishell and Norris was appointed after John Baumgardner was elected as president of council.

Eley said, “I believe in the city, and I believe in the people that reside in our city. And the only way that I think you can know your city is to be part of your city. I worked in Dayton for years and I felt like I missed a lot. So, my idea was when you retire you get to know the city that you live in.” She said she has enjoyed her time on Greenville City Council. “Had I not enjoyed it, I wouldn’t have run. I like the challenges. I may not always agree, but I like the challenges.”

Norris said, “I wanted to help anyway I could with the city. Living in the city my entire life and been involved in politics in the Darke County Republican Party for years and in business in Greenville for the last 32 years. I want to be part of the city. I think we have a growing city. Great council members that I serve with, our staff at the city is just compassionate about the city and I want to see it keep going.” Norris is not a stranger to public service. He was involved with fire and EMS for 30 years and believes residents need to be involved and engaged in their community, whether it’s serving on council or coming to a council meeting.

The newly elected officials will take their seats in the city on Jan. 1.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

No posts to display