‘Staff’ promotion

Published 10:52 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Current City Councilman Jim Staff was elected as Atmore’s next mayor during the municipal elections held Tuesday. Two incumbent councilmen were re-elected while runoffs will decide who will represent the other two districts.

City Councilman Jim Staff will remain at Atmore City Hall for the next four years – but during his next term he will serve in the city’s top spot after being elected as mayor in Tuesday’s municipal elections.

A total of 1,429 people turned out to vote on a day consumed by news of Hurricane Isaac’s pending arrival.  Staff ultimately won the damp election day with 830 total votes. Candidate Bernard Bishop finished with 356 votes, while Lloyd Albritton ended the day with 243 votes.

“I’m just proud and honored that the folks in Atmore voted and turned out like they did,” Staff said. “The race was a good clean race, and all we’ve got to look forward to now is progress. We’re going that way.”

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Staff said nothing will change at city hall in the time between Tuesday’s election and his taking office officially on Monday, Nov. 5.

“It will be business as usual,” Staff said.  Bishop said, with the election behind him, he will fully support Staff and looks forward to working with him in order to serve the city of Atmore.

“We ran a good race and the people have decided for the next four years who they are going to entrust with the city’s leadership,” Bishop said. “We met, Mr. Staff and I, after the forum and we said we would work together. Because he realizes, as well as I, that one person cannot do it all in the city. I have a lot of political influence here. I have a lot of support here and I’m going to utilize that support to help Jim to better our city, because that’s what our race was all about.”

Albritton said he will want to validate the numbers for himself, but expressed some frustration over a longer-than-normal process to tally the final votes.

“I want to say congratulations to Jim on his win,” Albritton said. “But obviously I’m very disappointed in the results.  I’m disappointed with the way things were delayed. I will want some answers to balance sheets and numbers. But the people have apparently spoken, and they don’t want change. If that’s what they want, than more power to the people.”

Staff also spoke briefly about his new city council, three of which are returning incumbents. In District 1, Webb Nall will begin his fourth term after defeating challenger Chad Thrower. In District 2, Cornell Torrence will remain on the council after defeating Thomas McNeal. District 3 City Councilman Chris Walker will also return for another term after running unopposed. In District 4, Susan Smith and Larry Houck will engage in a runoff, as will candidates Michael Arnold and Chris Harrison in District 5.  Staff said the level of experience the council will have will be beneficial to the people of Atmore.  “We’ve got a runoff in two (races),” Staff said. “But Webb, he’s there already and coach Torrence is there. We’ve got two new council members so we didn’t really change a lot of administration. Everything is going to work out.” The four remaining candidates for city council will be elected through a runoff process that will be decided Tuesday, Oct. 9. Staff and his new administration will begin work in November.