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Officials prepare for changes at city helm

During the current sitting board’s final meeting Tuesday night, aldermen and Mayor Les Bumgarner welcomed the incoming elected city officials and said their goodbyes to departing board members.

In attendance last night were Ward One Alderman-elect Randy Belcher, Ward Five Alderman-elect Fletcher Grice, Brookhaven Police Chief-elect Bobby Bell and Mayor-elect Joe Cox, who was taking careful notes on the board’s proceedings.

“We are glad to have all of you here tonight,” Bumgarner said. “I hope this helps you get up to speed on everything.”

Ward Six Alderman David Phillips, who was re-elected for another four years, commented on the departure of Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron, Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell and Mayor Bumgarner.

“I certainly enjoyed working with all of you,” he said. “There are a lot of years of experience leaving this board.”

Maxwell commented, “I’m leaving with a smile because I feel like I have done my best to serve the people of Brookhaven.”

Alderman-at-Large Karen Sullivan, who will be staying on the board, followed Maxwell’s remarks.

“I’m thankful to the city of Brookhaven that I am not making that same speech tonight,” she said.

In regular business Tuesday night, Bumgarner recommended James Tillman to fill the spot in the Brookhaven School District’s Board of Trustees left vacant by the recent death of former member Dan Brown.

“His experience is unbelievably unique,” he said referring to Tillman. “Everyone I have talked to says he’s the first on their list.”

All board members voted to appoint Tillman except Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates who recommended the board consider hiring Flora Kelly for the position.

In other business, City Clerk Mike Jinks announced that Lincoln County Civil Defense/Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey intends to have the new storm sirens installed by the end of July.

Bumgarner credited departing Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron with his persistence in seeing the siren project through.

“It’s a shame it won’t be done while you are still here,” the mayor said.

The board also heard from Gail Onesi, a property owner with rentals on North Jackson Street.

Onesi claimed residents from Hayes Trailer Park have consistently caused vandalism and are the source of burglaries on her properties.

“Hayes is a cancer,” Onesi said. “Conditions in there are appalling and the people in there are poaching on my renters.”

The board assured Onesi they would take action on the situation.

“We can board it up if we have to and close it down for public safety reasons,” the mayor said.

In addition, the board met in executive session regarding a personnel issue in the fire department. No action was taken on that matter.