Nov. 4, 2013 is a day that will certainly go down in Mobile’s history. The first female City Council president was selected unanimously by her fellow councilors and a new mayor was ushered in.
The same day Sandy Stimpson went from mayor-elect to mayor of Mobile, District 7 Councilwoman Gina Gregory was selected as the council president.
Gregory, who is starting her third term as a councilor, is the first woman to ever hold the seat since 1985, when the city changed to a mayor-council form of government.
“I am honored to be chosen by my fellow councilors. I’m still getting used to the idea of being president, but I’m looking forward to serving the city,” Gregory said. “I think the council selected who they wanted to and that just happened to be a woman.”
District 1 Councilman Fred Richardson was once again chosen to be the council’s vice president, a role he has held since 2005.
Although Richardson said he is pleased to serve in the same role, he wanted to be president.
“I would have liked to have served as president, but it is at the will of the council,” he said. “I am honored to be vice president.”
District 6 Councilwoman Bess Rich expressed interest in the vice presidency, but Richardson had the support from the council. Rich did abstain from voting for Richardson, who was approved by a vote of 6-0-1. Rich said she abstained because she had just hoped to see some new people in leadership roles on the council.
District 2 Levon Manzie and District 5 Joel Daves also became councilmen for the first time.
But the councilors were not the only stars of the ceremony. Stimpson was sworn in as mayor, surrounded by his wife Jean and two of his grandchildren.
Stimpson said he is ready to hit the ground running.
“We have all prepared for the first day over the past 70 days,” he said. “Today we have some things we have to do. Right now we’re going to the mayor’s office and there are some actions we have to take.
“We are going to prepare for (the swearing in ceremony at 7 p.m. at the Arthur Outlaw Convention Center), and we have to prepare for tomorrow.”
Stimpson said the undercurrent of his administration would be transparency. In doing so, he will be taking the door off the mayor’s office tomorrow at a time yet to be determined.
Being elected mayor and finally taking office is something Stimpson tried to put into words, but said he couldn’t really do the feeling justice.
“I’m very excited. It’s hard to explain the range of emotions you feel,” he said. “There is so much responsibility that comes obviously with being the mayor. There are a lot of opinions on how things should be done. I’m really excited about the feeling and the excitement of the community right now about being elected.”
Stimpson said more appointments would be coming soon, but did not disclose the positions or when the announcements would be made.