New Natchz administration takes over

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 1, 2000

Even before the inaugural ceremony began, the crowd of city officials, their friends and family and various citizens that packed city council chambers Friday could see the change.

Four of the 10 desks lining the front of the chamber now carry new name plates. Mayor-elect F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith, City Clerk-elect Donnie Holloway, Ward 2 Alderman-elect James &uot;Ricky&uot; Gray and Deputy City Clerk Christie Huddleston took their place as the newest members of city government.

The new officials, as well as those returning for four years of service, took oaths of office at 10 a.m. Friday, but their terms in office did not begin until midnight.

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Since Monday and Tuesday are city holidays, work of the new administration will not begin until Wednesday.

Smith was the first to be sworn in; Judge Charlie Vess administered the oath of office which required Smith to support the nation and state’s Constitutions and to &uot;faithfully discharge the duties of the office.&uot;

Smith thanked the people gathered for their presence, saying he especially appreciated his family’s support. &uot;They’ve done a lot in the past three months to get me here,&uot; he said.

Addressing the concern of many citizens and officials, Smith said he will work to increase cooperation between the city and county.

He also said he looks forward to continuing projects begun by former Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown and &uot;trying some things we haven’t tried before.&uot;

Following Smith, aldermen Gray and Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West were sworn in by Judge Mary Lee Toles. Municipal Judge John M. Tipton administered oaths for aldermen Sue Stedman, David Massey and Jake Middleton.

Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Arceneaux was not present at the ceremony.

Gray told those present he intended to improve the conditions of Ward 2, and echoed Smith’s call for consensus between the city and county.

&uot;Hopefully, with this being the new millennium, we can work with the county and the state to make Natchez a better place,&uot; he said.

Returning aldermen were also given the opportunity to comment on the new term.

&uot;We have a good team,&uot; West said of the board, mayor and department heads. &uot;The coach might have changed, some of the players might have changed … but we’ll do all right.&uot;

Ward 5 Alderman David Massey said he looked forward to working with Smith. &uot;We’re going to get together and move this city forward like it’s never seen before,&uot; he said.

A reception followed the ceremony, and many supporters stayed to greet the mayor and aldermen.

After shaking hands and accepting hugs from citizens and family, Smith entered the receiving line himself, congratulating the aldermen on a new term.

Several members of the Smith family were present at the ceremony, including Smith’s aunt, Carolyn Vance Smith.

&uot;Hank is very capable, and it’s a time in his life — his children are grown — when he and his wife can turn around and give back to the community,&uot; she said.

Mayor Smith said he plans to spend the holiday weekend with his family before beginning to move into the mayor’s office in city hall on Monday.

Deputy City Clerks Joe Anne Hicks, Huddleston, Danessa McCullen, Kay Patt and Evangeline Scott were also sworn in at the ceremony.

Sonette Tensley took the oath of office as municipal court clerk, with Deborah Zito as deputy municipal court clerk.

Judge David Bramlette administered the oath to Tipton.