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It's official: Sylvester Turner is sworn in as Houston's 62nd mayor

It's official: Sylvester Turner is sworn in as Houston's 62nd mayor

Sylvester Turner sworn in as mayor of Houston
Sylvester Turner became Houston's 62nd Mayor Saturday in a brief ceremony at City Hall. Courtesy photo

Although Sylvester Turner won't be publicly sworn in as Houston's 62nd mayor until Monday, the former state representative took the oath of office Saturday in a brief private ceremony at City Hall, with his daughter at his side and his hand on a well-worn Bible that he used during his time in the Texas Legislature.

U.S. District Judge Al Bennett administered the oath to Turner and City Controller Chris Brown, in front of a small group of family and friends.

Turner chose the private ceremony to meet requirements of the Houston City Charter, which mandates a transfer of power on January 2, and avoid overtime costs that would have been accumulated if police and other city employees were on duty during a holiday weekend for a public inauguration. 

“This was a decision based on financial concerns,” Turner said in a statement.  “We always have to be mindful of the bottom line.”

Turner's predecessor, former Mayor Annise Parker, chose a similar route when she was sworn in during a private ceremony in January 2010 before a public inauguration two days later. Parker, who has been in city government for the last 18 years as council member, controller and mayor, has accepted a two-month teaching fellowship at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, beginning February 1.

The public inaugural for Turner, Brown and Houston City Council will take place at 9:30 am (January 4) at Jones Hall.  A pre-inaugural celebration is planned for 4:30 - 6:30 pm Sunday (January 3) at Market Square Park. The free event is open to the public and will feature live music, food trucks and a fireworks finale.

Turner’s resigned as State Representative for District 139 on January 1. He had served in the State Legislature for 26 years before he was elected Houston's mayor in a close run-off last month.