Piedmont swears in new mayor, council members
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Nov 06, 2012 | 2701 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Rick Freeman taking his oath of office, given by Piedmont Municipal Judge Bud Turner. The council stands with Freeman in a display of unity. (Anniston Star photo by Eddie Burkhalter)
Mayor Rick Freeman taking his oath of office, given by Piedmont Municipal Judge Bud Turner. The council stands with Freeman in a display of unity. (Anniston Star photo by Eddie Burkhalter)
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PIEDMONT — Blending Piedmont’s past and future, the new city council and mayor were sworn into office Monday evening atop the basketball court in the nearly-century old Clyde H. Pike Civic Center.

After a color guard displayed the country’s flag, Piedmont Municipal Judge Bud Turner gave the four new and three returning council members, and Mayor Rick Freeman, their oaths of office.

Newcomers to the council are Brenda Spears, Frank Cobb, Terry Kiser and Ben Keller. They join returning council members Millie Bramblett, Bill Baker and Kenny Kelley.

“We’ve got a hard road ahead of us,” Freeman said. Freeman then spoke of the negative talk about Piedmont, and his desire to see that end.

Commenting on what he said were shortages in the Piedmont Police Department budget, Freeman said that would soon be changing. Finalizing the municipal budget will be one of the first tasks on the council’s plate in the coming weeks.

Speaking of a childhood friend and local pastor Rick Blythe, who was in attendance at the meeting, Freeman said, “We came out of the mill village, and I’m proud of it … I doesn’t matter where you came from. The mill village or New York City. We’re all Piedmont. And I’m proud of that.”

Council member Bramblett nominated councilman Frank Cobb as mayor pro tem and the council voted unanimously in favor of the appointment.

As for last week’s misstep over correct public parliamentary procedure, that’s apparently all in the past.

“We had some problems last week,” Freeman said, referring to an unannounced meeting last week  and a vote using seceret ballotts in a second, properly announced meeting last week. “...We made a mistake and I’m commander of the ship. I take the responsibility.”

City Clerk Michelle Franklin will continue on in her job after serving in the position since her appointment in 2008. Franklin was nominated by Councilman Baker, and the council voted to appoint her, with one dissenting vote from council member Spears.

In a unanimous vote, the council agreed to retain current city employees pending a future review.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.
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