After serving on Waynesboro City Council since 2016, Ward A representative Elzena Anderson announced Tuesday she will not serve her entire term.
“This decision actually is something that has been in the back of my head, just waiting for that right time,” Anderson said. “I feel like now is the right time.”
Anderson said she will step down from her city council position effective March 1. She said she made the decision after reevaluating her life path, both personally and professionally.
“It’s just me needing to redirect my focus,” Anderson said. “If I’m going to do a job, then I want to do it right, and I just feel like I can no longer do that at this time. I’m just needing to step away from certain obligations to just rethink my life. It’s very hard to explain, because it’s a multi-faceted issue. It’s not just one thing, it’s many things.”
The decision to resign from council, just months before her term would end, was difficult, Anderson said.
“I’m glad I made it this far. It’s been a great ride,” Anderson said.
“I’ve met people from all walks of life. I have grown, because I have learned from people. Because people have shown me that we will not always have the right answers, that we’re always learning, that we have been opening our eyes wider and how healthy it is to come to the table and to just listen,” she said, reflecting on her experience as a council member.
Waynesboro Mayor Terry Short said Anderson wil be missed.
“I can’t say enough kind things about Elzena,” Short said. “Her service to our community has been deeply appreciated.”
Anderson’s term ends June 30 and the city’s charter requires Anderson’s seat be filled within 30 days of her resignation. City council will begin the process of accepting applications soon, Short said.
Applicants have a March 3 at 7 p.m. deadline with the registrar’s office to collect signatures. Short said Anderson’s seat could be an opportunity for someone who has thought about running for office to either run for the short term and serve until June 30, or decide to run for the seat in the May 5 election.
“I would also, from the bottom of my heart, thank her for her service to our city,” Short said.
Politics was never on Anderson’s radar when she considered career paths in the past. With a background in art, as well as library information and sciences, her decision to run for council stemmed from both the persuasion of others and the desire to continue being involved in her community.
“Ever since I was a young teen, I’ve always been a part of my community in some way,” she said.
Anderson worked for Staunton, Augusta County and now Waynesboro since 2003. During that time, she also attended college. She is currently assistant director of Waynesboro Public Library.
Serving as a council member allowed Anderson an additional avenue to continue her community involvement. Although the job was not always easy, Anderson expressed how grateful she was, and continues to be, for the tremendous support she has found from her family, colleagues on city council and members of the community.
“It just made me love my community a lot more,” she said.
Although her decision was hard, it was the right thing to do, Anderson said.
“I do want to thank the residents of Waynesboro who have taught me a lot and have supported me, my fellow council members who I served with, the Mayor, Clerk of Council, city attorneys, City Manager and the rest of city staff, who are working hard every day to run a city,” Anderson said in a press release about her resignation. “I wish you all success as you continue the work in making Waynesboro a beautiful place to visit and a great place to call home.”
Anderson was first elected to Waynesboro’s city council in May of 2016, picking up more than 63% of the vote in Ward A.