An inauguration, the Bellaire way: Mayor, council to be installed tonight

By Charlotte Aguilar

Bellaire knows how to throw a proper inauguration for the mayor and three councilmembers it elects every two years — and the bi-annual event is scheduled for 7 tonight (Jan. 8).

Because of construction of new municipal facilities — and the fact that the police and courts are currently occupying the Civic Center Auditorium, where the ceremony and reception are customarily held — this year’s swearing-in will be held in the smaller Council Chambers in City Hall, 7008 S. Rice Ave. The scale might be smaller, but the program remains traditional.

There’s always a stirring amount of local pomp and circumstance, and this year is no exception. Dr. Roger Patterson, a Bellaire resident and senior pastor of Crosspoint Church, will lead the invocation. The Bellaire police and fire honor guard — in their dress uniforms — will present the colors, and the snappy Boy Scouts from Troop 222 at Bellaire United Methodist Church will lead the pledges to the U.S. and Texas flags. There are always singers from a local school, and Veritas Academy will provide the musical welcome.

For the formalities, Bellaire Municipal Court Judges Lisa A. Wesely and Jerel S. Twyman will administer the oath to returning Mayor Andrew Friedberg and Councilmembers Gus Pappas and Michael Fife, and to first-time Councilmember Neil Verma.

Family, friends, neighbors and other well-wishers will celebrate the installation with a brief reception, with food and beverages (most usually punch and cookies among the offerings), in the City Hall Lobby. Then it’s on to the business of governance, as Mayor Friedberg gavels the newly constituted council to order for its first meeting at about 8 p.m.

With the harsh political climate in our country, there’s something refreshing about celebrating grassroots politics in a spirit of nonpartisanship and community that makes this Bellaire inauguration even more notable than ever.

And you can bet there will be no controversy over the attendance figures.

A family affair: Michael Fife tends to her grandson at her first swearing-in to Bellaire City Council in 2016. (Photo by Charlotte Aguilar)