The mayor of Langley presented Record reporter Ben Watanabe with a mayor’s excellence award Monday night.
Mayor Tim Callison surprised the audience after adding a last-minute item to the city council agenda under the recognition section. He declined to explain to the council his reasoning, saying that it would become clear later.
Callison thanked Watanabe for his service to the city as the primary South Whidbey Record reporter covering the government happenings in Langley since August 2013. The award was specifically for open government reporting, such as recent stories on the circumstances regarding the ousting of a former planning director.
Watanabe was given a pin with the city’s logo, featuring a crane, a whale’s tail, a curling wave and a stylized burning sun.
The mayor and city council thanked him with handshakes and wished him well in the future. He was also asked to return to the city and spend his money. Watanabe joined the staff of The Herald in Everett this week.