Declaring himself not “a politician by any means,” Randy Tayor was sworn in last Monday evening as the 30th mayor of Salisbury, pledging to increase government transparency and citizen accessibility.
In a ceremony attended by more than 100 people at the Salisbury Fire Department Headquarters on Cypress Street, Taylor took the official oath of office, along with his five legislative branch colleagues on the City Council.
A Camden Avenue resident and Salisbury native, Taylor, 58, defeated two other contenders in the Nov. 7 city elections — council member Megan Outten and community advocate Jermichael Mitchell.
The election was close, with Taylor winning by 50 votes; 3,174 ballots were cast in total.
A political conservative, Taylor is believed to be the first Republican mayor in city history.
Six years ago, Taylor left the banking industry to form a historic restoration business.
During the campaign, he voiced frustration with the city’s government, saying it helped propel his candidacy, though he had thought for years about seeking the mayor’s seat.
The first action of the new council was to elect a president to lead it. The procedure included some tense exchanges, as previous president April Jackson was replaced with the newly elected D’Shawn Doughty.
Needing three votes to secure the leadership post, Doughty received votes from himself, veteran Angela Blake and newcomer Sharon Dashiell.
Later, following some further testy exchanges, the council — in a rare second ballot — chose Blake to serve as its Vice President.
Michele Gregory supported Jackson for the president’s seat.
At age 28, Doughty is the youngest person ever to serve as City Council President.
After being sworn in by Wicomico Clerk of Court Bo McAllister, Taylor offered an upbeat address outlining his vision and plans for Salisbury’s government.
“Today I stand before you, not just as a newly elected mayor but as a proud son of Salisbury,” he said. “I grew up on these streets and experienced firsthand the warmth and strength of our community. It’s here I chose to return, start my career and raise my family.
“While I do not consider myself a politician by any means, I do believe in public service. It is an honor beyond words to be able to lead this city that has shaped me, and I’m committed to giving back to the place that has given me so much.”
Taylor said that chief among his principles was “an unwavering commitment to transparency.”
“The decisions we make in city hall will be open, accountable (and) accessible to every citizen, as our founders intended. Your right to know and participate in our democratic process is paramount,” Taylor said.
During the campaign, there was some criticism of the city’s need to raise taxes for the current fiscal year; Taylor addressed that.
“Keeping taxes low is not just a fiscal goal, it is a commitment to the well-being of our residents," he said.
"Government must never outgrow its citizens’ ability to pay for it.”
Salisbury has a strong-mayor form of government, but — as with any mayor — Taylor will generally need at least three council votes to enact changes he would like to see.
The math and dynamics for that support will become more clear as the newly elected members navigate issues and their offices.
Taylor promised to work with the council members.
“We are all stakeholders in the success of Salisbury. I will extend my hand to all members of the City Council to work collaboratively,” he said.
“Let us set aside our differences and focus on the common goals that will uplift our community. Working together, we can achieve greatness for Salisbury,” he said.