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Jan. 6 - Mayor Van Johnson announces staffing updates, provides update on Waving Girl statue at first press conference

By Caila Brown, Digital Editor

January 6, 2020 - In his first official press conference since being sworn in as Mayor of Savannah last week, Mayor Van Johnson had a few updates and announcements. 

He started the press conference by acknowledging the vote of the previous City council to move the Waving Girl Statue, currently located on the East end of River St., to a new home on the West end in the Plant Riverside development. With support from the Propeller Club of Savannah, they have tabled that decision and will discuss and re-evaluate at a later date. 

Marty Johnston, former Chief Operating Officer of the City of Savanah, has been named as the temporary Deputy Assistant to the Mayor. Johnson highlighted her background as a public servant and extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the City, which he hopes will provide assistance in this transition period. 

"I am really looking forward to working with the new Mayor and the new City council," said Johnston. "I think it's an exciting time for Savannah and all of its citizens... I am hopeful that we can bring everybody to the table."

Regarding the City Manager, Pat Monahan has reaffirmed that he does not want the position permanently. The prior City council made strides to identify search firms that will be of assistance to the current council, and Johnson stressed that they will be engaging the public as much as possible in the decision and next steps.

Johnson also recognized the upcoming 2020 Census, and the variety of part-time and temporary jobs available to help the count. More information is available at

Next week the newly elected council will host a visioning retreat to identify priorities and solidify the steps moving forward.

The first council meeting of this term will be held on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 2 p.m. at City Hall.

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