Jackson sworn in as Johnstown mayor

The honorable Brett Preston, left swears in Vern Jackson as the mayor in the City of Johnstown courtroom in Johnstown on Monday. Jackson’s wife Peggy holds the Bible as his family surrounds him during the ceremony. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)

JOHNSTOWN — An emotional Mayor Vern Jackson told the city’s common council after being sworn in Monday that he will do his best to lead the city this year.

“We have our work cut out for us in 2017,” said Jackson, vowing success.

The Republican Jackson was surrounded by his wife, Peggy, other family and friends at City Hall. He took office to fill the last year of the original four-year term of his friend, the late Democratic Mayor Michael Julius, who died July 28.

Other elected officials to be sworn in Monday were Republican City Court Judge Brett Preston and Republican 4th Ward Councilman Timothy Cellary.

Jackson offered congratulations to Preston and Cellary, who assumes his former Fourth Ward council seat.

Former Interim Mayor Cindy Lakata served following Julius’ death until the end of 2016.

The mayor’s post —with a fresh four-year term in 2018 — will will available with the fall elections.

Jackson, a Yost Street resident, was emotional throughout his brief remarks, especially referencing the late Julius, who passed away after a battle with cancer.

“Thank you for opening the doors of City Hall,” he said. “You left some big shoes to fill.”

Jackson also thanked Lakata, who volunteered to assume the mayor’s role when asked by the council after Julius’ death.

Julius’ wife, Catherine, was in attendance at the meeting.

“I am well aware of the work to be done,” Jackson stated. “Thank you for your love, support and encouragement. I am truly blessed to have you all in my life.”

Jackson told the gathering that “a man is known by the company he keeps,” going on to praise those connected with city government. He lauded the work of the council members, and all employees of city government.

Jackson worked for the federal government. The Utica native started working for the U.S. Social Security Administration in that city, later transferred in 1977 to the Gloversville Social Security office. He retired from that office in 2006 as a claim representative.

He had 25 years of service in the Navy, first as an enlisted man. He later served many years in the Naval Reserve, from which he retired.

Jackson said he will likely meet with Gloversville city officials in the coming weeks to discuss shared issues.

The new mayor invited those assembled to meet afterwards at Partner’s Pub.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

By Chad Fleck

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