PORTSMOUTH — As a first order of business after being sworn in Monday evening, Portsmouth’s new town council members elected James Seveney to serve as their president.
Mr. Seveney has served on the council since first being elected in November of 2004 and was vice president for six years. He served on the school committee from 2000 to 2004.
Next, they selected another Democrat, rookie councilor John F. Blaess as council vice president. Both votes were a unanimous 7-0.
The choices reflect the new Democratic majority on the council. What had been a Republican majority was turned upside down on election night. The new council features four Democrats — Mr. Seveney, Mr. Blaess, Michael Buddemeyer and Mary Donohue Magee; two Republicans — Keith Hamilton and Elizabeth Pedro; and an independent — David Gleason.
Ms. Pedro, an incumbent, took the seventh council seat over Democrat Len Katzman by a single vote after a recount.
Also taking the oath of office Monday were new members of the school committee, which also gained a majority of Democrats.
School committee members sworn in (all Democrats) were Emily A. Copeland, Terri-Denise Cortvriend, Andrew V. Kelly and John L. Wojichowski.
Outgoing council members Paul Kesson and former council chairman Joseph Robicheau were presented with citations and town tiles honoring their service (Judi Staven was absent). Handing out those citations were new state Representatives Dennis Canario of Portsmouth and Linda Finn of Middletown (both Democrats), and state Senator Christopher Ottiano, a Republican.
District Court Judge J. Terence Houlihan Jr. also swore in Town Clerk Kathleen Viera Beaudoin and Town Sergeant Philip Driscoll.
Portsmouth Girl Scouts opened the ceremonies by leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and “Star Spangled Banner.”
The Rev, Daniel Gray of St. Anthony’s Church gave the invocation and benediction.