CAMAS — Barry McDonnell is officially the mayor of Camas after winning a long-shot write-in campaign, but now the real battle begins.
Who is going to get to sit in the mayor’s chair?
The early claim for the seat was made by Ava McDonnell, 14, the mayor’s eldest daughter. Eventually, she had to yield the chair to Finn McDonnell, 12, the second of the new mayor’s four children.
The mayor’s office was packed with McDonnells on Tuesday as the new mayor was officially sworn in during an intimate ceremony in his new office.
“It’s so special to have these people around me right now,” Barry McDonnell, 41, said. “We’re all just super excited.”
Ava and Finn — along with their siblings Shay, 11, and Archie, 1 — quickly took over the office, testing out the chairs, pens and sticky notes. The kids described their dad as playful at home, with Finn saying he likes to make jokes. Ava said her dad likes to practice jiu jitsu at home with the kids, though she’s the best in the family at martial arts.
McDonnell was sworn in Tuesday by Shawn Macpherson, Camas’ city attorney, in a special ceremony because his predecessor, Shannon Turk, was an appointee. State law says that elected officials take office immediately upon election certification if the incumbent was appointed. McDonnell will serve as mayor for the remainder of Turk’s term, which runs through the end of the year.
He will be officially sworn in again in January for a full term, along with new councilor Shannon Roberts and councilors Bonnie Carter, Greg Anderson, Ellen Burton and Don Chaney, who all won their re-election campaigns.
McDonnell jumped into the race a month before Election Day partly due to his displeasure with how the city handled the information campaign around the failed $78 million bond for a pool and community center. Nearly 90 percent of voters rejected it.
The new mayor, whose full-time job is in loss prevention for a major retailer, has spent the last few weeks meeting with city department heads and his fellow councilors to learn the inner workings of the city. He said the city has a great team in place who have been working hard to make sure he’s caught up.
Because of how much work he’s been doing, McDonnell said it hasn’t fully set in yet that he’s now officially the mayor. He anticipates that leading his first council meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, will be surreal.
“It’s the most thrilling thing ever,” Anastasia McDonnell, the mayor’s wife, said. “It’s so, so, so exciting. He’s been in it for the last couple of weeks. Now it’s really on. It’s going to be a lot, but he’s ready for it.”