| By Jason C. Mattox
Jerry Autrey was sworn in as Mayor of Batesville Friday, July 1, as family and friends of elected officials filled the City Hall’s board room and overflowed into the lobby.
Mississippi Supreme Court Justice George C. Carlson Jr. swore in Batesville’s elected officials at the mid-morning ceremony.
"During the campaign there is a lot of rhetoric," Carlson said in brief remarks prior to swearing in the mayor and aldermen to their new terms which begin on Monday.
"When the election is over, it is time for officials … to go about the business of governing," Carlson continued.
Assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell served as emcee, including the introduction of Batesville First United Methodist Church minister Russell Fletcher, who conducted the invocation and Panola Baptist Association Director of Missions Courtney Selvy, who spoke the benediction.
Outgoing Alderman-at-Large Hudson Still spoke briefly, praising the city’s employees.
"They are on the front lines of this board," Still said.
"I urge the board to work with our new mayor, and I urge the mayor to work with this board," Still continued.
Still also recalled four former aldermen with whom he had served during his 20 years as Alderman-at-Large: the late Calvin Mangrum, the late Bobby Carlisle, Willie King and Cowles "Pete" Horton.
Mayor and Alderman-at-Large Teddy Morrow were sworn in separately, and aldermen from the city’s four wards were sworn in together.
Carlson commented that Morrow is Batesville’s youngest elected official and that Autrey is the second youngest. It is the first term of public office for both men.
Ward One Alderman Bill Dugger begins his third term, Ward Two Alderman Rufus Manley begins his second term, Ward Three James Yelton begins his sixth term and Ward Four Alderman Bobbie T. Pounders begins her fifth term.
Justice Carlson concluded his remarks by paraphrasing Micah 6:8, a Bible verse his mother had given him prior to first taking office as a judge:
"Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God," he said.
Officials in other Panola area municipalities, with the exception of Crenshaw and Crowder, will be sworn in next week.
In Crenshaw, an inauguration was held Saturday night, July 2, at the Church of God in Christ. Sylvester Reed took oath of office as mayor. Aldermen are Alberta Bradley, David Whitsell, Milton Phipps, Keith Pride and Shirley Morgan.
In Crowder, officials will be sworn in on Thursday evening, July 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the new town hall. Stephen Stanton is mayor. Aldermen are Mary Stroupe, James King, Walter Shegog, Joe Cole and Chuck Wilson. Lynette Bland is town clerk.
In Como, Sardis, Pope and Courtland, officials will take their oaths on Tuesday, July 5.
Justice Carlson will also administers oaths of office to Sardis city officials. The ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by a reception. Rusty Dye will be sworn in as mayor. Aldermen will be Roy Scallorn, Rufus Smith, Mike Wilson and Rivers McArthur.
In Como, officials will be sworn in at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Azria Lewers will take oath as mayor. Aldermen will be John Walton, Clark Gregory, Richard Taylor, Everett Hill and Ruby Johnson Higgenbottom.
In Courtland, Debbie Aven will be sworn in as mayor at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday along with aldermen "Topper" Olson, Carolyn Kilgore, Gerald Aven, Chris Olson and Mary Catherine Baglan.
In Pope, Ricky Briscoe will be sworn in as mayor at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday along with aldermen Edith Mae Pratt, W. T. Rikard, John Mark Pickett, Farris Green Jr. and Ricky Roebuck.