New Tuscaloosa City Council, Board of Education Take Oaths of Office
More than a dozen city officials who were elected to office earlier this year were officially sworn in during a ceremony at the Tuscaloosa River Market early Monday morning.
Incumbent Mayor Walt Maddox, and six representatives of the Tuscaloosa City Council took oaths of office and began their four-year terms Monday, as well as members from each district of the Tuscaloosa City Schools Board of Education.
A notable exception came from the city's District 7, whose council seat is now officially vacant. This is the latest development in the ongoing battle between incumbent Sonya McKinstry and Cassius Lanier, whose election victory was nullified last month because of issues with his eligibility to hold office at the time of the March election. A special election will be held later this year to determine how the council seat will be awarded, and both candidates have indicated they will run again.
Representatives who were sworn in Monday morning included:
Mayor Walt Maddox
Tuscaloosa City Council
- District 1 - Matthew Wilson
- District 2 - Raevan Howard Williams
- District 3 - Norman Crow
- District 4 - Lee Busby
- District 5 - Kip Tyner
- District 6 - John Faile
Tuscaloosa City Schools Board of Education
- District 1 - Karen Thompson-Jackson
- District 2 - Kendra Williams
- District 3 - Lesley Powell
- District 4 - Patrick Hamner
- District 5 - Erica Grant
- District 6 - Marvin Lucas
- District 7 - Erskine Simmons
- School Board Chair - Eric Wilson
TCS School Board Chair Eric Wilson also spoke about the many successes TCS has seen recently, such as the opening of four new schools including the $18.2 million MLK Jr. Elementary, achieving a 1:1 ratio of electronic devices to students, implementing an extensive summer learning program, and being recognized as a Green Ribbon school district for their efforts to reduce the system's environmental impact.
He recognized the incoming board, composed mostly of incumbents who ran uncontested races in March, and spoke to their synergy and optimism towards future projects.
Seven-term councilman Kip Tyner was unanimously selected to become the Tuscaloosa City Council President after former president Cynthia Almond chose to not seek re-election, and Tyner spoke Monday about the goals for the incoming City Council including a desire to strengthen fire and police pensions and bolster the pay plan for public safety employees.
"It is indeed such an honor," Tyner said. "I think this is going to be the greatest City Council in the history of Tuscaloosa. We already work so well together... I'll be right here for you with my 24 years of experience to help you realize your goals and your dreams for your community."
Mayor Maddox closed the ceremony by speaking primarily about the steps Tuscaloosa must take to ensure safer communities in this next term.
"We all campaigned on this idea of making the lives better for our families, and for the people that we serve," Maddox said. "That is a common bond that unites all of us, and I believe it's that common bond working together that I believe we're going to be able to accomplish much."
Watch the full inauguration ceremony on the Tuscaloosa Thread's Facebook below.