Monday’s swearing-in ceremony for Midway’s newly elected officials became a standing-room only event as city hall quickly filled with residents eager to see re-elected Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington, new Councilman Stanley Brown and incumbent city council members Melice Gerace, Levern Clancy and Curtes Roberts take their oaths. Stanley replaced former Councilman Terry Doyle, who lost his mayoral bid to Washington.
State Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, presided over the ceremony, where Liberty County Probate Judge Nancy Aspinwall swore in the city’s leaders. Midway voters chose their council members through an at-large voting system in which there are no districts. All council candidates run against each other and the four highest vote-getters are elected for four-year terms.
“My job is not finished. The voters sent me back to complete it,” Washington said.
The council members pledged to work together, make themselves accessible to constituents and respond to residents. Only Roberts offered a specific goal.
“I would like to see us get a city hall. Midway needs a home,” he said.
The city previously occupied space in the county-owned former Liberty Elementary School until it was closed for renovation. The former school now houses a county complex that includes a branch library, meeting room, offices and other facilities.
For two years now, Midway has used rented office space in the Midway Mall and holds its council meetings in the Midway Police Department building’s courtroom.
Williams recalled the days when residents were proud to have the city’s first caution light.
It was “a blinking light, now — not a stoplight,” said Williams, who kept the swearing-in ceremony on track by fetching a Bible from his truck when none could be found for those taking oaths.
The lawmaker, Aspinwall and other leaders agreed that Midway likely will see more growth in tourism and other areas of development.
Midway City Council’s first meeting of 2014 is set for 6 p.m. Jan. 13 in the police department’s courtroom.