Willingham replaces Buettner as president of City Council
Posted: January 9, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — John Willingham earned the unanimous endorsement of his fellow City Council members Tuesday night as he was elected as the next president of Winchester’s governing body.
The 35-year-old James Wood High School graduate was the only nominee for the position. He was approved on an 8-0 vote; Councilor John Hill arrived shortly after the decision.
“I’m humbled by my nomination and approval by my colleagues,” Willingham said after the meeting. “It means a lot to me to have their confidence.”
Willingham will assume the post on Feb. 1. Outgoing President Jeffrey Buettner, who was chosen to lead the council in January 2009, will serve until the end of the month.
The councilors also voted 9-0 to approve Milt McInturff as vice president and Les Veach as vice-mayor.
City Code calls for councilors to elect a president and vice president biennially.
The code stipulates that the president presides over meetings and enforces the rules of council, with the vice president serving in that role in his absence. No other duties are specified.
The vice-mayor is to be elected by councilors each year, according to the city’s charter, but the recent practice has been to fill that position biennially at the same time as the president and vice president. The vice-mayor represents the city as mayor in the absence of the mayor.
Willingham has served as the council’s vice president since Feb. 14. He was unanimously elected to the position following the resignation of Art Major, who moved out of his home in the Third Ward.
He began serving on the council in 2009 after running unopposed for a Fourth Ward seat and was re-elected without opposition in November.
A certified public accountant, he launched his own business, Willingham Enterprises LLC, in 2012 to provide real estate development and business consulting services.
Willingham earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Virginia Tech and lives on Meadow Court with his wife, April, and three daughters.
He praised Buettner for his leadership on the council through an economic downturn and organizational turmoil. Two city managers resigned during his four-year tenure as president.
McInturff, 61, has served as Winchester’s vice-mayor for the past two years.
He also joined the council in 2009 after running unopposed for a vacant Third Ward seat. In November, he ran in the special election to fill the unexpired two years of Major’s term, announcing his intent to leave the council in 2014.
Veach also began serving on the council in 2009 after he bested Patrick Farris by a single vote in a race for a vacant First Ward seat. The 52-year-old ran unopposed in November.
— Contact Vic Bradshaw at email@example.com