On Monday, November 7, 2016, Mayor Raymond Steele and the new Eutaw City Council were inaugurated in a ceremony on the Thomas Gilmore Courthouse Square.
Steele was sworn in by Greene County Probate Judge Judy Spree. Council members – Latasha Johnson (District 1), LaJeffrey Carpenter (District 2), Joe L. Powell (District 3), Shelia H. Smith (District 4) and Bennie L. Abrams III (District 5) were sworn in by District Judge Lillie Osborne.
In his remarks, Mayor Steele said, “I want the very best for Eutaw. Thank you for your confidence. I am eager to go to work. The City of Eutaw is at a turning point and we need to grow to support our budget and services. I feel that the newly elected City Council will work together
“We need to develop Exit 40 on Interstate 59 and 20, where 20,000 to 40,000 cars pass each day. We need a truckstop, fast food restaurants and a hotel to accommodate people passing through the area. This will help increase our tax base to expand our city budget.
“We also need to help develop and create 300 to 400 good paying jobs in the city and surrounding Greene County.We need to expand our park on one hundred acres on the Lock 7 Road with ball fields, tennis courts and other amenities.”
Steele thanked his supporters and many officials for their help and support. He indicated that he needed the support of many politicians from U. S. Senator Richard Shelby to the local legislators and county commissioners, to accomplish his goals and program.
A number of local officials, including State Representative Ralph Howard, Dr. James Carter, Superintendent of Greene County Schools, Mattie Atkins, Circuit Clerk, Joe Nathan Benison, Sheriff and Rev. Joe Webb, community leader attended the inauguration ceremony and gave greetings.
Joyce E. Brooks, a business consultant and former Alabama Power Company engineer and community relations officer, presented the new Mayor in an inspirational and uplifting speech.
Eutaw City Council holds organizational meeting
On Monday evening, the new Mayor and City Council met to hold their organizational meeting at the Eutaw City Hall. The Council agreed to meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:00 PM and follow Roberts Rules of Order in governing the procedures and process for meetings and official business.
Mayor Raymond Steele was designated as Utility Superintendent, which is traditional for the Mayor of Eutaw. The City agreed to maintain the same bank depositories and designated the Mayor, City Clerk and another person as signatories.
The City Council could not agree on selecting a Mayor Pro Tem, who serves in the absence of the Mayor. Councilman Joe L. Powell nominated LaJeffrey Carpenter, which Carpenter seconded, but other Council members did not vote in favor of the motion.
Councilwoman Latasha Johnson asked if the Mayor Pro Tem had to be selected for a full four year term or whether the position could be rotated among the Council members. This question was not immediately answered and the decision on selecting a Mayor Pro Temp was postponed until a future meeting.
Attorney Nick Underwood, former County Commissioner, was selected as City Judge. Grace B. Sanford, the current City Judge, was selected as City Clerk. Bennie Abrams III was selected to continue as Fire Chief and Derrick Coleman was designated to remain as Chief of Police. Ken Aycock, current City Attorney was also asked to continue in his current position.
The City Council selected Standing Committees: Finance Committee – Joe L. Powell, Chair, Bennie Abrams and LaJeffrey Carpenter; Utilities Committee – LaJeffrey Carpenter, Chair, Bennie Abrams and Joe L. Powell; Parks, Recreation and Cemetery – Latasha Johnson, Chair, Shelia H. Smith and LaJeffrey Carpenter; Police, Fire and Safety – Bennie Abrams, Chair, LaJeffrey Carpenter and Shelia H. Smith; Sanitation and Streets – Shelia H. Smith, Chair, Joe L. Powell and Latasha Johnson.
Mayor Raymond Steele rehired the three police officers dismissed last month by former Mayor Hattie Edwards, at the recommendation of Police Chief Derrick Coleman.