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United Way of Lancaster County


Mayor swears in new, returning City Council members

Lancaster’s 2024-25 City Council. From left: Ahmed Ahmed, Jaime Arroyo (vice president), Lochard Calixte, Amanda Bakay (president), Faith Craig, Janet Diaz, John Hursh. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

Lancaster’s re-elected City Council president expressed hope Tuesday evening that her upcoming term would be less tumultuous than the previous one.

In a brief address during council’s inauguration ceremony, President Amanda Bakay said she thought she was prepared for what lay ahead when she and Jaime Arroyo joined City Council in January 2020. Of course, neither knew the future would include a pandemic, economic dislocation and social and political turmoil.

However, even had none of that happened, Bakay said she would have faced challenges she could not have foreseen: That’s just a natural consequence of trying to make the best decisions for the greater good of a community.

“Here’s to another term of difficult decisions; and, maybe, more ‘precedented’ times,” she said.

Mayor Danene Sorace swears in the four City Council members who won election last November on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024. Clockwise from top left: Amanda Bakay, Jaime Arroyo, Ahmed Ahmed, John Hursh. (Photos: Tim Stuhldreher)

Moments earlier, Mayor Danene Sorace had administered the oath of office to her, Arroyo, Ahmed Ahmed and John Hursh. Like Bakay, the other three offered a few words, thanking voters and committing themselves to the work ahead.

Ahmed won his first election in November after being appointed in late 2022 to fill the seat of Ismail Smith-Wade-El, who had been elected to the state House.

Hursh, meanwhile won the seat being vacated by Councilwoman Katie Walsh. Walsh was appointed in February 2022 to replace resigning Councilman Xavier Garcia-Molina, but chose not to run last year.

City Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to reappoint Bakay as president. She named Arroyo vice president, replacing Faith Craig, and announced the following committee leadership assignments:

  • Personnel: Lochard Calixte
  • Community Planning: Faith Craig
  • Economic Development: Ahmed Ahmed
  • Finance: Jaime Arroyo
  • Public Safety: Janet Diaz
  • Public Works: John Hursh

For Calixte, Craig and Diaz, the assignments are the same as before. Ahmed previously chaired the Finance Committee and Arroyo chaired the Economic Development committee, so those roles are now reversed; Hursh will take over Public Works from the departing Walsh.

City Council’s work will get under way next Tuesday, Jan. 9, with a committee meeting at 5 p.m. and a regular voting meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Committee meetings normally are held the first Monday of each month, followed by regular meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays. The second regular meeting is omitted over the summer.