SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Van Johnson was sworn in Wednesday morning as the 67th mayor of Savannah ahead of Thursday’s inauguration for all of City Council.
The inauguration ceremony will feature an almost entirely different council taking the oath of office.
Johnson took the oath in front of the crowd at St. Philip A.M.E. Church during the Emancipation Proclamation service.
Johnson thanked family, friends and other elected leaders for support during his campaign.
The new mayor assumes the role officially after leading Savannah's 1st District for four terms.
"I just chose to take it from tradition. Where it's usually private, among just family and friends, to just do it with the community. I think it's poignant. It's an acknowledgement of our campaign, it's been very community-focused. We didn't tell anybody, we just thought this would be the right setting to do it,” Johnson said,
Over the next couple weeks, Mayor Johnson says his focus will be establishing a new council culture, as he and returning 5th District Councilwoman Estella Shabazz welcome seven new elected leaders.
The official inauguration of the new mayor and council will take place Thursday night at the Savannah Civic Center at 6:30 p.m.