New Eutaw Mayor, Latasha Johnson, and City Council members sworn in at ceremony on Courthouse Square; Council organizational meeting held later in day

On a bright and sunny Monday, November 2, 2020, the new Mayor of Eutaw, Latasha Johnson, and five City Council members were sworn-in to their new positions for a four-year term.
The Investiture Ceremony took place, starting at Noon, with masks and social distancing out doors on the Old Courthouse lawn. 300 family members, friends, guests and citizens formed the crowd to welcome in these new city office holders.
Former City Councilman Joe Lee Powell served as Master of Ceremonies. Councilman LaJeffrey Carpenter gave a welcome. Several Greene County pastors, including Rev. Calvin Finch, Rev. Anthony Johnson, Rev. Edward Culbert and Rev. Randy Miller read scriptural passages from the Old and New Testament. Several solos were sung by Donald Young, Rev. Joe Nathan Webb and Kendrick Howell. Mollie Rowe read a poem about the life and challenges of the new Mayor.
City Judge Josh Swords swore in the five new Eutaw City Council members as a group. Each Council member addressed the assembled group before the swearing in.
Ms. Valerie Watkins of District No. 1 said she planned to work in unity and love with the new Mayor and council members.
Tracey Hunter of District 3 said she wanted to work together with others in city government. She committed herself to work for transparency, unity and accountability with the other Council members.
Larrie Coleman, District 4 councilman thanked his family and voters for their support.
Jacqueline Stewart of District 5 said she was honored to serve and would have to begin to look at the problems of the city through the eyes of others and make decisions in accordance with the needs of others.
Mayor Latasha Johnson was sworn-in by District Judge Lillie Osborne and gave some remarks. She said that she hoped to work together with the other council members and work through difficulties facing the city. She said she was humbled, hopeful and proud to serve the City of Eutaw. She said that she was ready to work together with the council members in unity. She asked for the assistance and prayers of all in the city.
Rev. A. B. Griffin of New Peace Baptist Church and the Mayor’s pastor gave some remarks to offer a charge to the Mayor and City Council. He had three main themes: unity, maintain peace and be a servant leader offering support to others.
Sheriff Joe Nathan Benison also gave remarks at the ceremony after which a lunch was served.
City Council
Organizational Meeting
The City of Eutaw Council held its opening organizational meeting at 2:30 PM at the Carver School Gymnasium. The Council adopted Roberts Rules of Order as their procedural guide.
They approved the employment of Attorney Zane Willingham as City Attorney and City Prosecutor and agreed to pay him for both roles. They appointed Kathy Bir as City Clerk and Joe Lee Powell, as Assistance City Clerk.
The Council approved District 2 Councilman LaJeffrey Carpenter as Mayor Pro Tem, to serve in place of the Mayor when she is not available to participate in actions and activities.
The Council reaffirmed its meetings to be held at 6:00 PM on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. The Council approved a list of standing committees, their chairpersons and members.
Josh Swords was reappointed as City Judge and Bennie Abrams was appointed as Fire Chief.
Tommy Johnson, a former Eutaw City policeman and Sheriff’s Deputy was named to serve as Chief of Police as the current Chief Derrick Coleman along with several other police officers resigned effective October 30. Office Kendrick Howell was named Assistant Police Chief.
The Council tabled action on several positions until it could prepare and review its fiscal budget, to determine if these positions were necessary and affordable, including Director of Parks and Recreation, Building Inspector and General Superintendent of Roads, Streets and Water.
The Council agreed that Latasha Johnson, Mayor, LaJeffrey Carpenter, Mayor Pro Tem, Councilwoman Tracey Hunter and Kathy Bir, City Clerk be check signatories of the city bank accounts with Merchants and Farmers and Citizens Trust Bank.
The Council approved a motion to allow the Mayor to sign a three-year consulting agreement with Water Management Services to correct problems with billing and physical facilities of the city water system. Former Mayor Raymond Steele refused to execute this contract and when the Council approved the contract and had it signed by Carpenter, refused to allow the consultants to do their work in the City’s Water Department.
Mayor Latasha Johnson said she spoke with Kathie Horne of Water Management Associates and agreed to sign a new contract and get them started working to correct the problems of the City Water Department.
At an earlier meeting, the old City Council accepted the resignations of Ruthie Thomas, Water Clerk and Martina Henley, Court Clerk, effective November 3, 2020, as well as the police resignations.
At this meeting, the outgoing City Council also approved an on-premises liquor license for John’s, located at 100 Main Street in Eutaw, Alabama. They also approved various procedures for changing locks on city property and return of city property and vehicles by outgoing officials.
At the end of the organizational meeting, City Judge Josh Swords swore in Tommy Johnson as the city’s new Chief of Police.

Primary Runoff Election set for next Tuesday July 17

Jeremy Rancher and Roshanda Summerville

Next Tuesday, July 17, 2018, the Democratic and Republican parties in Alabama are holding a Primary Runoff Election to decide political contests where one candidate did not get a 50% majority in the First Primary, held on June 5, 2018.
In Greene County, in the Democratic Party, we have two important political races to be decided in the runoff.
For Greene County Probate Judge, the race is between Jeremy Rancher and Rolonda Wedgeworth. In the first primary, Rancher, Chief Deputy with the Sheriff’s Department, led with 1091 votes (32.76%) to Wedgeworth’s 813 votes (24.41%). Wedgeworth currently is on leave from her position as Chief Clerk in the Probate Judge’s office. Four other candidates split the remaining votes.
For Greene County Commissioner District 5, there will be a runoff between Marvin Childs, a former commissioner who polled 203 votes to Roshanda Summerville, a political newcomer, who works at the Greene County Physicians Clinic, who polled 135 votes. Three other candidates, including incumbent commissioner, Michael Williams split the remaining votes.

In the first primary, four incumbent commissioners: Lester ‘Bop’ Brown, District 1; Tennyson Smith, District 2; Corey Cockrell, District 3 and Allen Turner Jr., District 4 were returned for another term. The Greene County Commission will face important decisions on the future direction of the county including road and bridge repair, recreation for young people, assisting the Greene County Health System to maintain hospital services in the county and many other issues facing the lives of Greene County residents.
Sheriff Joe Benison was re-nominated in the first primary. Veronica Morton Jones was nominated as Circuit Clerk and Ronald Kent Smith was re-nominated as County Coroner. All of these candidates will face the General Election on November 6, 2018 but local Democratic candidates are unopposed and will be elected pending any write-in campaigns.
On July 17, Republican voters will decide several statewide nominations for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner and several Supreme Court Justice positions.
All Democratic statewide candidates were decided in the first primary: Walt Maddox will be running for Governor, Will Boyd for Lieutenant Governor, Joe Siegelman for Attorney General, and many others will be on the November 6, 2018 General Election ballot.
On July 18, 2018, the general Election campaigns will begin in earnest with 110 days left until the November 6 General Election. People who have not registered will have another chance to register or change their voting address for the General Election.
Please remember to vote in the July 17 Runoff Election. Too many died and suffered to win the right to vote for all!