City Secretary Esmeralda Hudson swears in Kyle Deaver as Waco’s new mayor.

Staff photo— Jerry Larson

Waco City Council on Tuesday replaced Malcolm Duncan Jr. with Kyle Deaver as mayor but left a council seat empty.

Now the council is starting the process to fill it.

Residents of District 5 have until June 1 to submit an application to serve the remaining year of Deaver’s term. Applications are available at or at the city secretary’s office at City Hall.

The council will interview candidates at its work session at 3 p.m. June 7 and could swear in the chosen candidate that night. Each candidate must be at least age 21 and a qualified Texas voter who has lived in Waco at least a year and the district at least six months.

The interview process has become routine in recent years as a succession of council members, including District 5 representatives Jim Bush and Duncan, were elected mayor with time left on their terms.

Deaver himself was the council’s District 5 replacement for Duncan in 2012.

Deaver did not draw an opponent in the May 7 election and was sworn in Tuesday along with District 3 Councilman John Kinnaird and District 1 Councilman Wilbert Austin, who were re-elected by wide margins. The council also voted District 4 Councilman Dillon Meek as mayor pro tem.

In a speech, Deaver said being a councilman has been “rich and rewarding,” and he encouraged residents to apply for the council seat.

Running without an opponent allowed him more time to work with Duncan in the transition, Deaver said.

He praised Duncan’s leadership, starting with revamping a troubled animal shelter into a city-run facility with a 90 percent live exit rate. On a larger scale, Duncan helped convene Prosper Waco, the community effort to improve income, education and health care.

“His leadership has been steady, intentional, thoughtful and vigorous,” Deaver said.

Kinnaird called Duncan an inspiring leader.

“You make those around you better,” Kinnaird said.

Meek said Duncan has left a “lasting legacy.”

“Under your watch, Waco has prospered,” Meek said. “Your genuine love for this community has helped raise Wacoans’ pride in the city to a new level. Due to your work, more than ever, more Wacoans are convinced that this city is great.”

Duncan choked up at times as he thanked the council for appointing him as a representative and for working together during his tenure.

“I think it’s a real testament to the idea that the common good runs local government,” he said. He saluted county and nonprofit leaders for also finding ways to collaborate with the city.

Addressing Deaver, Duncan shared a few words of advice: “Don’t take yourself too seriously, don’t take things personally, and you’ll have a lot fun.”

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