Bumgarner ready to go as new mayor

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Bumgarner era has begun.

Mayor Les Bumgarner and the Board of Aldermen that will steerthe city for the next four years were sworn in Tuesday morningduring a ceremony held in the circuit courtroom at the LincolnCounty/Brookhaven Government Complex.

“I’m excited and ready to go,” Bumgarner said. “I’m energized,which is good because there’s a lot to be done.”

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Chancery Judge Ed Patten and Circuit Judge Mike Taylor conductedthe service, both charging the officials to remember their place inprotecting freedom and democracy.

“Every four years at election time we disagree frankly andopenly, and we argue, then we vote, then we go back to work inorder to do it again in four more years,” Taylor said. “You canagree to work together and postpone your disagreements untillater.”

Patten reminded the new municipal leaders to keep in mind howpowerful freedom and justice can be.

“It’s the driving force that allows you … to seek and holdpublic office and to serve people,” he said. “It’s the drivingforce that causes men and women to go oversees and fight. By yourbecoming elected officials, you are now one of the guardians ofthat freedom and independence.”

And Taylor also invoked the values that America was foundedupon, saying that in politics, a lot of people talk about Christianvalues.

“Every person we deal with has a soul and is created in theimage of God. Even your most annoying constituent was created inthe image of God,” he said. “That bears remembering and I hope thecity government will continue to remember that.”

Bumgarner is taking office after serving two terms as aldermanat large. He said his primary goal is to continue the positivemomentum the city has built up under his predecessor BobMassengill, who served as mayor for five years.

“I’m preparing for this first meeting tonight, and it’s kind oflike baptism by fire to be sworn in this morning and meet tonight,”he said. “But to this point, I’ve been just trying to absorb asmuch knowledge as I can.”

Alderman at Large Karen Sullivan is the sole new addition to thegroup, which remained intact in the municipal election.

Sullivan is a schoolteacher, and the wife of the late formerBrookhaven Mayor Doug Sullivan. She will attend her first boardmeeting as a member of the board on Tuesday night.

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron will retain his chair for hisfourth term on the board of aldermen. Ward Two Alderman Terry Bateshas served on the board longer than all the others, with fiveprevious terms under his belt.

Ward Three Alderwoman Mary Wilson has served one previous fullterm and begins her second after Tuesday’s swearing-in. Ward FiveAlderman D.W. Maxwell is also beginning his second term.

Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estes will be serving her secondfull term, after filling the position in 2003 after the death ofher husband, Ward Four Alderman Don Estes. And David Phillips wassworn in as Ward Six’s representative to the board of Aldermen forhis first full term after being elected in a special election inApril 2008.

City Clerk Mike Jinks is beginning his second full term in theclerk’s office, and Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson isbeginning his third term as the city’s top cop.

The board of aldermen meets the first and third Tuesday of everymonth in the city boardroom at 6:30 p.m.