Pilot Point swears in new mayor
By Abigail Allen
As Pilot Point's new mayor, Matt McIlravy, took the oath of office, outgoing Mayor Shea Dane-Patterson stood behind him, smiling.
McIlravy, who has served on the council since 2019 including as mayor pro tem since 2021, said he feels excited about having the support of the community as he fills the role Dane-Patterson played for several years.
“Following somebody that served the community for eight years in that role, it's been an emotional ride,” McIlravy said. “I talked to her before I even ran to see if she was going to run.”
In the prayer that led off the meeting, Grace Point Church of the Nazarene Pastor Dwayne Edwards spoke of both mayors.
“Thank you for being with her,” he said. “Thank you for giving her wisdom. Thank you for times when she had to take some tough stands. That's what leaders do. They take tough stands. Sometimes they're popular. Sometimes they're not.”
He also added that he asked for her to find joy as she steps away from the role she held for many years.
In the second half of the prayer, he asked that McIlravy will be able to handle “the new things coming his way.”
“He thinks he knows what they are, but he does not know,” Edwards said.
McIlravy, who won the seat with 55.3% of the vote, has been involved on not only the council but also on the Parks and Recreation Board, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Municipal Development District Board.
As McIlravy took his seat at the center of the dais, he explained something personal to the crowd inside City Hall, demonstrating a willingness to ask for help and to be transparent.
“I struggle with reading and repeating things, and it's because I have dyslexia,” McIlravy said. “As we move on, I'm going to have Lenette read our agenda items as we go on.”
He and his wife, Ashley, attend Midway Church, which is where they celebrated the adoption of their sons, Daymian and Adriel, in 2020.
Ashley and the boys were among the crowd gathered to watch the change of the guard.
McIlravy and Dane-Patterson presented each other with gavels—hers, the one she used for eight years as mayor, and his, the brand-new one he broke in at the end of the May 12 meeting.
Dane-Patterson told the crowd it's hard to step away from serving in the Pilot Point city government, but she feels she's leaving the city in good hands.
“I'm very proud of you,” she said. “You're going to do great things here. And I pray you don't have all the craziness that we've gone through in the past two years. You'll do a great job.”
Looking back, she said, Dane-Patterson is proud of what the city accomplished during her time in office.
“I'm sad but excited because I know I'm leaving the city with great plans, a roadmap ahead,” Dane-Patterson said. “A lot of things have come to play while I was mayor. A new city park, the police and fire stations, the museum.”
Dane-Patterson also had friends and family members in attendance, including her kids, Jake Patterson and Emma Grace Patterson, and her mother, Kay Dane.
“The last 12 years, being here, serving the city of Pilot Point has been an honor,” she said.
She credited those accomplishments to the people she worked with during her time in office.
“It was council and all of our wonderful staff and citizens that pitched in every step of the way,” she said, before the meeting began.
That evening, Elizabeth Jones and Andrew Ambrosio were sworn in for their three-year terms on the City Council. Both ran unopposed in the election. Jones was reelected to her seat, and Ambrosio fills the seat that was vacated by McIlravy.