• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

New Versailles City Council sworn in

THE INCOMING VERSAILLES CITY COUNCIL was sworn into office Dec. 17 in the Versailles Police Department’s Owen Roberts Community Room. From left (in order of seniority), incumbents Mary Bradley, Mike Coleman, Laura Dake and Fred Siegelman were joined by newcomers Lisa Johnson and Aaron Smither. (Photo John McGary)

The new Versailles City Council won’t take office until Jan. 1, but the six members, including two freshmen, took their oaths of office Tuesday, Dec. 17, in the Versailles Police Department’s Owen Roberts Community Room. (Roberts is a former longtime Versailles City Council member and VPD officer.) Mayor Brian Traugott said the outgoing council has done a stupendous job and also tipped his hat to Judge-Executive James Kay, Woodford Fiscal Court, Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift and the Midway City Council. “I cannot think of a better community that has governed through this crisis, and for that, I’ll be eternally grateful,” Traugott said. “The good thing about this incoming council is we really have all the opportunities on the other side of COVID. We have the ability to shape our own future in this post-COVID world, and I have all the confidence in the membership in this council that we’ll be successful in that.” After Traugott’s brief remarks, former Chief State Court of Appeals Judge Anthony Wilhoit Sr. administered the oaths individually – without notes. “I memorized it a long time ago,” said Wilhoit, who estimated that he’s sworn in perhaps a couple of thousands of people – including a governor and lieutenant governor – during his five-plus decades of public service. Newcomers Lisa Johnson and Aaron Smither will take office Jan. 1, joining incumbents Mary Bradley, Mike Coleman, Laura Dake and Fred Siegelman. “I am tickled to be here,” said Smither. “We’ve spent the last six months planning and preparing, and I guess this is, somewhat, the official day. … I’m ready … to get in and continue the work that the individuals who are here have already accomplished. I think they’ve done a lot of great things. I’m particularly interested in tourism and downtown development. …” Smither is an appointed member of the Woodford Tourist Commission, but, like Johnson, will be serving in elective office for the first time. (Johnson lost to Traugott in the 2018 race for mayor of Versailles.) Johnson said she felt very humbled and honored to have been elected. “ … And my motto is kind of, ‘I want Woodford County to be the best place to work, live, stay and play,’ and … I think the job of a council member is to make our services run well and to bring tourists to come see us and to make a place where residents want to stay and raise their kids.” Wilhoit said most of the people he’s sworn into office take the oath very seriously, but … “Sometimes when you get to the part about having fought a duel, every now and then, you’ll get a smile or a giggle,” Wilhoit said, chuckling. “That’s strictly Kentucky. We’re the only state that does that, because we had a problem, as you know, in Kentucky with duels. And they were trying to stop people from doing it.” Minutes before she took the oath mandated by the state Constitution, Johnson said the dueling portion didn’t concern her. “I’m good,” she said, smiling. “I’ve honestly never had a duel and never plan to.” Then she added, “With a deadly weapon – it has to be with a deadly weapon.”

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