Mayor Kristen Umstattd pounded the gavel for the final time Tuesday night, closing a 22-year Town Council career, serving the final 13 years as Leesburg’s mayor.
Her final Town Council meeting was marked with plaudits from council and community members alike, some of whom attended Tuesday’s meeting solely just to wish Umstattd well in her new role as the Leesburg District supervisor. Her term on the county Board of Supervisors officially begins Jan. 1, and she is expected to formally resign from the council sometime before that.
“You really are the epitome of leadership,” town resident Gladys Burke said. “I’m just so proud to have been able to call you my mayor.”
Councilman Fernando “Marty” Martinez, whose first year on the Town Council also marked Umstattd’s first as mayor, applauded her “willingness to be criticized.”
“You’ve never disappointed. You’ve always exceeded expectations,” he said.
But Councilwoman Katie Sheldon Hammler noted that the council would continue to have a working relationship with Umstattd as the town’s representative on the county board.
“I don’t feel we’re saying goodbye; we’re just saying thank you to stepping up to be our representative at the county level,” she said.
Umstattd was humble in accepting the praise. Prior to the meeting, she handed out bags of candy and small gifts to the council members and town staff at the meeting. She also noted that she had ordered illustrated copies of Twas The Night Before Christmas for all council members. The reading aloud of the story during the town’s Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony has become a favorite of the council.
Umstattd said it had been “a real pleasure” to work with council members and town staff, and also said she felt that this had been one of the best group of council members she served with.
“On behalf of the staff, I’d like to thank you for all your kindness and graciousness and professional leadership,” Town Manager Kaj Dentler said. “People very much appreciate the fun you’ve brought to the office and the leadership you’ve brought to the town.”