By Garrett Estrada
Ely Times Staff Writer
Melody Van Camp was sworn into office as the new Ely mayor outside of City Hall on Friday. Van Camp was selected from a pool of four candidates who applied for the position by the City Council at their meeting on March 13.
The council reached a 2-2 tie after councilman Randy Lee nominated Van Camp for the position. Lee and Bruce Setterstrom voted in favor of Van Camp, with Marty Westland and Sam Hanson voting no. Mayor Pro Tem Dale Derbidge stepped in and broke the tie with a yes vote.
“She is grounded in the community,” Setterstrom said. “Our goals are real close to being the same.I’m looking forward to working with her.”
The other three candidates were JaNeal Mathews, Sean Pitts and Curt Sundell.
Van Camp, who runs the sewing shop “Sew Krazy,” said one of her main priorities as mayor is to clean up the city.
“I have big plans. I want to go big or go home so to speak,” Van Camp said. “My number one absolutely most important thing is total clean up and make over of Ely. I am really forthright in trying to make it a pretty welcome mat for tourists coming through.”
Part of that plan includes addressing older buildings that have fallen into a state of disrepair. Another passion of hers that she plans to bring to the city is a stronger emphasis on recycling efforts in the city.
“We need to step up the recycling. We do it on a small scale now and I would like to step it up,” she said.
After having been asked several years ago to run for the position, Van Camp said that it’s been something she had considered for a long time. She didn’t run back then because she felt unprepared and was unfamiliar with the city meetings.
Upon making a greater effort to become involved, she said she had planned on running for the office after former mayor Jon Hickman’s term was up next year. With his recent passing, and encouragement from “several citizens,” she decided now was the time.
“It’ really important to me,” she said. “I’ve been going to the [City Council] meetings for a year and a half and I’ve been very interested in what goes on in city government. I felt like I was as qualified as anyone else.”