‘Thanks for the memories’

Published 11:10 am Monday, December 4, 2017

MURFREESBORO – After eight years, John Hinton will no longer be sitting with the Murfreesboro Town Council behind the dais with a placard labeled ‘mayor’ in front of him. The regular Town Council meeting held here on Wednesday marked the end of his term in the position.

Much of Wednesday’s meeting was dedicated to honoring Hinton for his service to the town, and he was presented with three plaques for the occasion.

“Debbie, we’ll have to get another wall,” Hinton joked lightheartedly, addressing his wife in the audience.

The first plaque, presented by Mayor Pro Tem Sarah Wallace, was a proclamation recognizing the time spent and work completed as mayor.

Hinton (right) hands the gavel to new Murfreesboro Mayor Hal Thomas.

“As an elected official,” Wallace read, “John A. Hinton has devoted a majority of his time, energy, and talents to the growth and development of the town of Murfreesboro, and has provided tremendous leadership and vision on its behalf.”

She concluded by expressing her sincere gratitude on behalf of the Town Council and town staff for the countless hours Hinton dedicated to Murfreesboro.

Mayor-elect Hal Thomas also presented Hinton with a plaque in appreciation of his “distinguished career of outstanding service” over the past eight years.

The final recognition came from interim Police Chief Chris Sumner who awarded Hinton with a plaque naming him an honorary police officer of the town. Sumner noted many of the town’s police force were in attendance Wednesday to show their support.

“Don’t give him a gun,” Council Member Bill Theodorakis quipped.

“I’m now a part of 5-0. That’s fantastic,” Hinton said, smiling after that portion of the meeting concluded. “I’m speechless and I don’t feel like I deserve a whole lot of that. But everyone is most kind.”

Before swearing in the new mayor and council, Hinton gave a final speech, offering words of support for the town moving forward.

“Let me begin by saying I’m honored to have served our community as mayor. Nevertheless, it’s time to step aside allowing someone else the opportunity to serve,” Hinton began before congratulating both new mayor Hal Thomas and the new council.

The council, which was elected on November 7, will consist of re-elected members Sarah Wallace, Bill Theodorakis, and Craig Dennis, along with first-time members Berna Stephens and Mitch Radford.

Hinton offered advice to the new council members, saying, “I caution you that individuals often approach you to support projects benefitting their hidden agenda. Be vigilant for anyone approaching with a project requiring funding at town expense, even with the promise of grants that appear too good to be true. Make them show you the money. Don’t forget the responsibility you assumed when elected.”

“Don’t be tempted to return to those difficult days of deficit spending when each major expense had to be reviewed by the Local Government Commission,” he continued, referencing the financial hardships in the past the town has overcome.

Keeping his remarks brief, Hinton concluded by expressing his gratitude towards people who have encouraged and supported him during his years in office, but also noting there was not enough time to recognize everyone by name.

“It has been my goal to see Murfreesboro continue as a community where citizens can prosper and raise their families in a safe environment,” he said. “I pray God will bless you all and bless our Murfreesboro, an ‘Oasis on the Meherrin.’ Thanks for the memories.”

The swearing in ceremony for the new town officials was led by Hinton, and then the new council took their seats. In his first act as mayor, Thomas adjourned the meeting.

Thomas said afterwards he was looking forward to serving as mayor, noting he will appoint the council members to different town commissions and elect a mayor pro tem at the next meeting which is scheduled for December 13.

“I hope that I can carry on as well as John Hinton did. He has done a good job,” Thomas explained, adding that Hinton had already given him ‘homework’ to get him accustomed to the duties that come with the new position.

“Hopefully the people of Murfreesboro will only see positive changes,” said the new mayor with confidence.