Beaufort County Council elected Paul Sommerville today as its chairman for the next two years.
Sommerville, 67, was vice chairman until early last month, when he was named acting chairman upon Weston Newtons resignation to join the S.C. House.
Councilman Stu Rodman, 70, was chosen as vice chairman today in a short session that also included swearing-in ceremonies for newly elected Councilwoman Cynthia Bensch, three sitting councilmen and Coroner Ed Allen.
As chairman, Sommerville will work with Rodman and county staff to set meeting agendas. He also will preside over County Council meetings.
Rodman, as vice chairman, will fill in as chairman when Sommerville is absent. He will serve as vice chairman for two years.
Sommerville, of Ladys Island, and Rodman, of Hilton Head Island, were elected in 2006 and are halfway through their second terms on council. Both are Republicans.
Also sworn in today were Councilman William McBride, a St. Helena Democrat, Councilman Gerald Dawson, a Seabrook Democrat, and Brian Flewelling, a Beaufort-area Republican.
Bensch, a Republican, will represent a greater Bluffton district that includes Rose Hill and the Buckwalter area.
All will serve four-year terms.
The new council is composed of three Democrats and seven Republicans. The District 9 seat, occupied for nearly 13 years by Newton, is vacant pending a special election to determine who will serve the remainder of Newtons term, which expires in 2014.
No Democrats are running in that race, meaning Republicans will almost certainly add to their advantage.
Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.