Lunsford hosts ‘Mayor for a Day’

Published 10:09 pm Tuesday, February 9, 2010

For Troy Mayor for a Day Coleby Roberts, his city clerk and council members, the meeting with Mayor Jimmy Lunsford was not as formal as they might have expected.

Lunsford was busy checking e-mails on his laptop when the young public officials arrived.

The mayor straightened his tie and buttoned his coat. But when he stepped out to greet his guests, he was wearing his pajama pants.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The young council members pretended not to notice. But the mayor smiled and explained.

“This time last week, I was in the hospital and had just come out of surgery,” he said.

The mayor had by-pass heart surgery on Monday and was home on Friday and admitted to the visiting “council members” that he is anxious to get back to the mayor’s desk.

“Normally, we would be having this meeting at City Hall but, because of my surgery, I asked for you to come to my house,” he said. “I wanted to meet with you so I could congratulate you and go over the agenda for today’s council meeting with you.”

Lunsford told the participants in the Mayor for a Day program that it is sometimes possible for young people to get things moving when adults might be dragging their feet.

“We – the city council –had talked about a ‘no smoking’ ordinance for the city, but we hadn’t done anything about it,” he said. “Then, we had a group of seventh graders come in and pass a no smoking ordinance as part of the Mayor for a Day program. Councilman Johnny Witherington slammed his hand down on the table and said that, if young people could take a stance to make Troy a better place, so could we.

“Because of the inspiration of a group of seventh graders, in six months we had a no smoking ordinance for the City of Troy. You can make a difference, too.”

Lunsford told the Mayor for a Day and his council that they would have an opportunity to present an ordinance to the council at the afternoon council meeting. That idea would probably be developed from one of their “Mayor for a Day” essays.

Rush Hixon, Pike Liberal Arts School, told the mayor that his idea was for the city to offer more teen attractions.

“If teens had more to do, they probably wouldn’t be into drugs, drinking and smoking,” he said.

Joshua Scott, Charles Henderson Middle School, suggested that the city make more of an effort to save “old buildings” so they could be recycled.

“One of the worst tragedies in Troy was that we allowed the old train depot to be torn down,” Lunsford said.

Elizabeth Mobley (PLAS) said more needs to be done to keep the streets and downtown clean. Allie Cooke (CHMS) and Courtney Smith (Covenant Christian) saw litter and inadequate sidewalks as main concerns facing the council, and A’Leesiah Coleman (CHMS) said business recruitment is essential to the continued growth of Troy.

Following the council’s meeting with the mayor, Mayor for a Day Roberts stayed behind to go over the City Council’s afternoon agenda with the mayor so he would be prepared to pass along information that the mayor views as needing immediate attention.