It was an upbeat environment at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center Tuesday night, as outgoing Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd was celebrated for her years of service on the Town Council.
Dozens of town staffers, council members and community figures gathered in the recreation center’s lower level conference room to bid Umstattd adieu and wish her well in her new stint as Leesburg District supervisor.
The highlight of the short program was a comedic version of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” remade to “’Twas the Night of the Council Meeting.” The parody was performed by council members Kelly Burk, Marty Martinez, David Butler, Suzanne Fox and Katie Sheldon Hammler, as well as current Town Manager Kaj Dentler and John Wells, who retired as the town manager last year. Wells made the trip from his new home in Pennsylvania for Tuesday’s event. All participating in the parody were inspired by Umstattd’s love of the reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” during the town’s annual Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting ceremony. Umstattd’s trademark high-pitched laugh could be heard throughout the performance, which drew cheers from the audience.
Wells offered his personal insights to Umstattd as a former county employee himself. Among the tongue-in-cheek differences pointed out by Wells – “You will have an 18-foot-by-18-foot office at the County Government Center, at Town Hall you had an 18-inch-by-18-inch mailbox – was that supervisors run for four-year terms, unlike the Leesburg mayor’s two-year terms.
“So if anyone sees Kristen going door to door in the fall of 2017, please stop her,” he said to laughs.
Burk, herself a former Leesburg District supervisor, was one of several to point out that the Town Council and town staff will continue to work closely with Umstattd in her new role.
“This is not saying goodbye, it’s saying get us more money from the county,” Burk joked.
As a parting gift for the town, Umstattd was presented with a gift card from Dick’s Sporting Goods to purchase a kayak, with monies contributed by council members and town staff members. Knowing the mayor’s love of kayaking, the town borrowed a kayak from Dick’s and placed a cardboard cut-out of Umstattd in it, with a cardboard helmet for safety. They also gifted her with a life jacket, to which she jokingly asked if it had holes in it. She was also presented with a plaque and key to the town. The plaque contained the list of all the boards and various roles Umstattd served in while with the town, with Hammler noting that the print had to be small to fit everything.
Umstattd herself had parting gifts for council members and town staff, including “Cutest Baby” proclamations given to Executive Associate Tara Belote for her two kids, and Dentler and Burk for their respective grandchildren Camden and Sam. As promised at last week’s council meeting, she also handed out copies of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” to the council members. For Town Hall, she donated a signed Antonia Walker print given to her by the Journey Through Hallowed Ground.
“This wouldn’t be the kind of town it is without you,” she said in addressing those in attendance. “You all will remain in my heart. You have been wonderfully supportive to my family and me.”
Contact Kara Clark Rodriguez at email@example.com.