Change at the top

Published 9:24 pm Saturday, December 12, 2009

WINDSOR – Change was in the air Thursday morning.

A standing-room only crowd gathered in the meeting room of the Windsor Town Commissioners as a new mayor and two new board members took the oath of office while two veterans stepped aside.

James F. “Jimmy” Hoggard was sworn in as mayor, replacing Bob Spivey who had served in that capacity for nearly two decades. Also sworn in were new Commissioners Joe Alexander and David Overton who replaced the retiring O. Wint Hale and Hoggard on the board.

“I want to welcome everyone starting a new term,” Mayor Hoggard said. “I think we have a good board because we have talents in a lot of fields. Mayor Spivey said last night he believes our best days are ahead and I think that is our charge.”

Hoggard said he knew how lucky he was when he attended a state meeting of new mayors.

“I was at a table of six new mayors and was the only one who wasn’t coming into corruption, a bad board or a variety of other problems,” Mayor Hoggard said. “I felt very fortunate.”

Alexander and Overton said they were excited to be becoming a part of a board that has done an excellent job.

“I’m proud to be a part of the board,” Alexander said. “I hope I can help and assist because ya’ll have done a wonderful job.”

Overton agreed.

“I feel privileged to be elected to serve the citizens of Windsor and to work with this group,” he said.

After seating the new board, Mayor Hoggard went to work, issuing assignments to each of the five members of the board.

As part of those appointments, Mayor Hoggard also created a milestone in Windsor history with his appointment of the Rev. Dr. Hoyt Cooper as Mayor Pro-Tempore. Cooper, who was the first African-American elected to the town board, also becomes the first black Mayor Pro-Tem.

“He has the ability to oversee any town act,” Mayor Hoggard said of Cooper. “He has served so well both on this board and with other agencies. If I’m out of town, he will have the authority to sign documents and I totally trust his judgment.”

The new Mayor Pro-Tempore said he was humbled and pleased with the appointment.

“I’m very happy to be appointed and will do what I need to do to get the job done,” Cooper said. “I will continue to work diligently to make Windsor a more pleasant place to live in all aspects.”

When asked about the first African-American to hold the post, Cooper’s answer was simple.

“I feel very honored,” he said.

Cooper also said he was excited about the new mayor and the new board members and believed all would work together well.

“I’m looking forward to the new board,” he said. “I think everyone will work together well and continue to do what is right as we have in the past. I think we have an excellent new mayor.”

Hoggard said Cooper’s appointment and those of the other four board members were done with the idea of matching their strengths with the posts he had given them.

“Commissioner (Bob) Brown, for example, has been in charge of fire and police for a long time and I wanted to keep his expertise in that area,” the mayor said. “Commissioner Overton will oversee electricity because of his strong background in that area.

“Likewise, I chose Commissioner Alexander for Public Information because he has experience working in that area,” Mayor Hoggard added. “Commissioner Collins Cooper had expressed an interest in the Mid-East Commission and we needed a strong representative to carry on the fine tradition Commissioner Hale set there and I knew he was available and would do that.”

Assignments made by the mayor included:

* Commissioner Hoyt Cooper – Mayor Pro-Tempore, Water, Public Buildings and Highway 17 Association;

* Commissioner Collins Cooper – Mid-East Commission, cemeteries and parks;

* Commissioner Bob Brown – Police/Fire, Sanitary Sewer/Wastewater and Administration/Finance;

* Commissioner Joe Alexander – Streets/Drainage, Economic Development and Public Information; and

* Commissioner David Overton – Electric, Beautification and Historic Properties Commission.