NEW HAVEN — Mayor George Gibbs relinquished his title Thursday when a new mayor took over, but it wasn’t the man elected to the position earlier this month.
Mitchell Harbrecht served as honorary “Mayor for the Day,” fulfilling a dream for both he and Gibbs.
Stating he wanted to end his term of office on a “positive note,” Gibbs said he thought about conducting an essay contest to choose the “Mayor for the Day” winner. He said Mitchell’s unusual qualities made him scrap that idea and choose him instead.
“Ever since I took office, I would run into Mitchell,” Gibbs said. “His interest and curiosity of the office filled my heart.”
Mitchell’s day began with the swearing-in ceremony. He received a certificate, was presented the mayor’s badge, and had a name plate made for him.
Accompanied by Gibbs, Mitchell’s first stop was the town park, where he checked on workers mowing grass.
“Looks good,” Mitchell told them, as he proceeded down the park where members of the Road Angels were renovating the restrooms.
The wastewater treatment plant was next, where the new mayor took a tour. Later, while inspecting workers cold patching potholes on Cedar Street, Mitchell received a phone call from Mason County Commission President Rick Handley, congratulating him on being named mayor for the day. Handley was also one of Mitchell’s former teachers.
A tour of the community building and municipal pool was next, and Mitchell stopped long enough to pose for pictures with the lifeguards. He also visited many of the town’s businesses, where he was greeted by their owners.
The climax of the day came later in the evening when Mitchell struck the gavel to signify the start of the town council meeting. While there, Mayor Gibbs presented Mitchell with a plaque for the great job he did while in office.
Mitchell’s regular employment is at the Jackson County Development Center, located in the Jackson County Industrial Park in Millwood. There, he sorts parts, rags and receives instructions on living skills. A graduate of Wahama High School, Mitchell lives with his mother and stepfather, Kimberly and Steve Spencer.