TALLADEGA -- The current city administration does not end until November, but Council President Horace Patterson took the time Monday to compliment those of fellow councilmen who will not be returning, as well as those who still have another hurdle to cross in the runoff election next month.
Incumbent Councilmen Jarvis Elston and Gerald Cooper did not seek reelection, and Ricky Simpson was defeated in the general election by Betty Spratlin. Cooper’s seat will be filled by Trae Williams, and Duryea Truss and Vickie Robinson Hall are in a run-off for Elston’s seat. Incumbent Ward 3 Councilman David Street is in a runoff with Joe Power.
“I want to express my appreciation for Ricky Simpson,” Patterson said Monday. “It has been a joy working with you and seeing all that you have done for this town.”
“It has been an honor and a pleasure,” Simspson said. “Now I’m looking forward to stepping aside and enjoying different things. My wife and I had been talking about retiring previously.”
Patterson also congratulated Spratlin, who was present but chose not to speak, and Williams, who said only that he was looking forward to serving the city and the people of Ward 5.
Street, whose relationship with Patterson has been strained for much of the past term, said “I
appreciate being given the opportunity to serve, and I look forward to maybe being able to serve again.”
Power said he would also be happy to have the opportunity to serve Ward 3.
Truss was also in the audience Monday and, when called on, said he “appreciate(d) everyone’s support” and looked forward to being able to “get things done.”
Patterson referred to Elston as “my gem. He has gone out of his way to give of his time and talents.”
Elston said he had “served as best I could. I’ve sometimes had to leave my place of employment, which is not in the city. My son, who was 8 when I was first elected, is 16 now, and I’m looking forward to opportunities for professional growth and more time with my family. I still believe the city’s employees are our greatest assets, and I love each one of them. I’ve seen various managers come and go, but I’m a big fan of (current manager Beth Cheeks), who we just elevated. She’s my MVP. And I want to thank all the directors who worked with me, who put up with my big mouth. You all stand fast and first, with and without me.”
Patterson referred to Cooper as a “champion. As someone who has suffered from heart ailments myself down through the years, I know you don’t always feel like coming out, but you have done it. You’ve done a good job, you’ve made a difference and I thank you.”
“I’ve enjoyed these four years,” Cooper said. “Some times have been rough, but there have been more good times than rough times. There’s a lot of good in Talladega, and I don’t believe you’ll find more good in any city in the United States. We’ve still got a lot in front of us, and I believe when it comes to fruition, Talladega will be an even greater city. I believe when people come through here and see what we have to offer, they will know we have as much as any city in the United States.”
Elston also thanked Angela Simpson, Ricky’s wife, for her endurance over her husband’s eight years on the council, and Carolyn and daughter Valorie for their service and support. To Councilman Cooper, he added, “you are the most courageous, and I salute you.”