By Jim Young
The city of Crossville got a chance to show off part of its new city hall building to the public for the first time and two new city council members were sworn into office.
A reception was held Monday evening in the lobby of the new Crossville City Hall that was followed by the swearing in ceremony in the new council chambers. The event was very well attended with standing room only.
Mayor pro-tem Danny Wyatt chaired the event as Mayor J.H. Graham III had an appointment in Cookeville and arrived near the end of the program. The preliminaries included a prayer from the Rev. Ralph Regan, the presentation of colors by the Young Marines and the national anthem sung by Ginny Cole.
A large number of city and county officials attended along with a number of previous city councilmen and a large group of community leaders.
New council members Jesse Kerley and Pete Souza were sworn in to start their four-year terms on the council by city Judge Tom Bean. The two men were also presented with their certificates of election by Cumberland County Election Commission Chairman Linda Baehr-Caldwell.
Another prayer was offered by the Rev. John Purdue of First United Methodist Church.
The two new members of the council were given the opportunity to make remarks. Kerley thanked everyone for their support and for coming out to the ceremony. He also thanked his grandfather Wendell Kerley, a previous city council member, for being an inspiration to him and his family members for their hard work on his campaign. He also thanked outgoing councilman Earl Dean for his support.
Referring to the other council members present, Kerley concluded, “I’m looking forward to working with these fine gentle gentlemen over the next four years and we’re going to get a lot done for the city of Crossville.”
Souza began his comments saying, “I’m humbled to be here tonight.” Then he quipped, “There were dark times before the last of the election. One of the darkest times was when a lady came up to me and said ‘Pete, I’d like to vote for you but I just can’t.’ I said that’s OK, this is America. The lady said, ‘I’m going to vote for Kerley because he’s prettier than you.’” Souza added, “That was true story.”
Souza also thanked those attending the ceremony for coming out and he said he especially wanted to thank the young people for coming “because they are our future.”
Souza concluded saying, “The electorate, when they went to the polls, there was a change in the wind. And with that change is a mandate. The mandate is, citizens first, employees second and forward after that.”
Councilman George Marlow welcomed Kerley and Souza to the council, “It’s an honor and a privilege to serve with you. I feel like together we can go forward for Crossville and make some good decisions.” Marlow added, “You’re part of a big family now, some 165 employees, and I consider all of them family.
Mayor pro-tem Wyatt invited the public to return to the new city hall building for the annual Christmas open house to be held Dec. 13 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Danny Wyatt concluded the program saying, “As this council unites, I’d like to welcome everyone’s comments and would ask for your prayers. I think we’ll make some great decisions and I think this is a turning point for Crossville and the economy and I think we can take this in the right direction.”