By Tony E. Windsor

After almost 20 years of service to the Laurel community, Town Councilman Randy Lee attended his last council meeting on April 17. Lee who served five terms as councilman starting in 2004, did not file for reelection this year and was replaced by newcomer Carlos Olivera.

During the Monday night meeting of Laurel Town Council, Mayor John Shwed led a tribute honoring Lee’s service to the community. Shwed presented the longtime councilman with a commemorative crystal recognizing his service, in addition to special tributes presented by Shwed on behalf of the town council, State Sen. Bryant Richardson representing the Delaware Senate and Rep. Tim Dukes representing the Delaware House of Representatives.

During the Monday, April 17 meeting of Laurel Mayor and Council, Mayor John Shwed led a recognition of retiring Councilman Randy Lee. Lee started his service on the council in 2004, and served five terms. He was replaced as First Ward councilman by Carlos Oliveras. Pictured Mayor Shwed (left) presents a series of state and local tributes to Councilman Lee on the night of his last council meeting. Photo by Tony Windsor

Lee retired from the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office after 30 years of employment as a Chief Deputy Fire Marshal in charge of the Sussex County Division. He is an active member of Centenary United Methodist Church, a lifetime member of Laurel Fire Department, and past President of the Laurel Alumni Association. He and wife of over 40 years, Ann, are also members of the Laurel Redevelopment Corporation and the Laurel Historical Society. 

Lee told those attending the April 17 meeting that although he is no longer serving on the town council, he is not leaving Laurel. “I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I will be just down the street if anyone needs me.”

During his comments, Lee took time to express his appreciation for the employees who work for the town. He said during his service with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, he spent a great deal of time traveling to communities throughout Delaware. “I have traveled up and down the state and spent time in many communities,” he said. “One thing is sure, the Laurel town employees are without a doubt as good as they come.”

Also during the Monday, April 17 council meeting, council members Cheryl Martin, Chris Calio and Olivera, joined Shwed in being administered the Oath of Office. Martin and Calio ran unopposed in the March municipal elections and Shwed defeated challenger Mark Sikora. Olivera also ran unopposed for Ward 1 seat formerly held by Lee.

Laurel Town Alderman Judge Marcealeate Ruffin administered the Oath to Shwed. Ruffin became the town’s Alderman in January. She is a veteran member of the state judiciary, having served 25 years as a Justice of the Peace Judge and since 2013, serving as Senior Judge for the Delaware’s JP Courts. Prior to her role as JP Judge, Ruffin spent 15 years as a Social Worker for the Division of Child Protective Services. In all she has 35 years on the bench and a total of more than 50 years of service with the state of Delaware.

Following the swearing in of all Mayor and Council members, the body voted to have Councilman Chris Calio continue on as Council President.