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Chattanooga's new City Council got down to business quickly Tuesday night by electing a chairman and vice chairman in less than 10 minutes and with no discussion.
Council members unanimously chose Yusuf Hakeem, District 9 representative, as chairman and Chip Henderson, District 1 representative, as vice chairman.
The meeting opened on a somber note, with a moment of silence for the victims of Monday's Boston marathon bombing.
"We're in the right place at the right time for the right mindset for citizens and the mayor to do something in this city that we've never done before," Hakeem said. "I am greatly humbled by this opportunity to serve as chairperson of this council."
Henderson took the podium to read a prepared statement from Mayor Andy Berke, who was addressing a group of students Tuesday evening, according to Jeff Cannon, deputy chief of staff.
"We celebrate the 105th birthday of the United States Army Reserve, honor its continuing service to America and offer them our thanks and continued support," Henderson read on Berke's behalf.
Council members then voted on a number of routine zoning matters, including amendments to the city code that would create a special permit for funeral and cremation services for household pets.
Hakeem glossed over the absence of department heads, who often report for their divisions at council meetings.
"I believe we do not have any departmental reports this evening," he said.
Most departments have resigned or retired.
Karl Epperson, of 1201 Boynton Drive, urged council members with speaking with Berke about the city's safety. He said that, in light of Monday's violence, the need for security at public events is obvious.
Lindsay Burkholder is originally from Winston-Salem, N.C. She graduated from Covenant College in May 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. While at Covenant she spent time writing for and editing the news section of the school newspaper, The Bagpipe. Burkholder also attended the World Journalism Institute in New York City in 2011.